US20090227351A1 - Slot Machine Which Provides Player with Easy Understanding of Getting Advantage in Payout and Playing Method Thereof - Google Patents

Slot Machine Which Provides Player with Easy Understanding of Getting Advantage in Payout and Playing Method Thereof Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090227351A1
US20090227351A1 US12/394,685 US39468509A US2009227351A1 US 20090227351 A1 US20090227351 A1 US 20090227351A1 US 39468509 A US39468509 A US 39468509A US 2009227351 A1 US2009227351 A1 US 2009227351A1
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symbols
scatter symbols
number
scatter
same kind
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US12/394,685
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Kazumasa Yoshizawa
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Universal Entertainment Corp
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Universal Entertainment Corp
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Priority to US3474808P priority
Priority to US3477308P priority
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Priority to US12/394,685 priority patent/US20090227351A1/en
Assigned to ARUZE CORP. reassignment ARUZE CORP. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: YOSHIZAWA, KAZUMASA
Publication of US20090227351A1 publication Critical patent/US20090227351A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/34Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting depending on the stopping of moving members in a mechanical slot machine, e.g. "fruit" machines
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/3244Payment aspects of a gaming system, e.g. payment schemes, setting payout ratio, bonus or consolation prizes

Abstract

When a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, these scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to WILD symbols. Each of the WILD symbols is increased in a column direction and then fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols which are not fixed are rearranged. Then, a payout is given according to the number of the WILD symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/034,726, filed on Mar. 7, 2008, U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/034,748, filed on Mar. 7, 2008, and U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/034,773, filed on Mar. 7, 2008.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates to a slot machine which provides a player with easy understanding of getting an advantage in payout, and a playing method thereof.
  • 2. Description of Related Art
  • In a conventional slot machine, when a player inserts a game medium such as a coin or bill into an insertion slot of the slot machine and then press a spin button, more than one symbol is scroll-displayed on a display provided at the front of a cabinet. Then, the symbols are automatically stopped.
  • In such a slot machine, as is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,604,999, or U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2002/0065124, a predetermined number of game media are paid out when symbols stopped on a winning line correspond to a predetermined combination. Further, irrespective of a winning line, a predetermined number of game media are paid out according to the number of symbols which are called scatter symbols displayed on a display.
  • In a conventional slot machine, when a predetermined condition is satisfied, a bonus game is executed. The bonus game is more advantageous for a player in a payout than a basic game, in which a game medium is inserted to scroll-display and then stop symbols. However, in the case where a bonus game is a free game or the like which does not require the insertion of a game medium, such a bonus game is basically similar to a basic game in appearance. Therefore, it is difficult to understand for a player that the bonus game is advantageous for the player in payout.
  • An object of the present invention is to provide a slot machine having an entertainment characteristic unobtainable from a conventional art, and a playing method thereof.
  • Another object of the present invention is to provide a slot machine which provides a player with easy understanding of getting an advantage in payout, and a playing method thereof.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • A slot machine of the present invention includes: a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged; and a controller. The controller is programmed to operate in the following steps of: (a1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (a2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged; (a3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, increasing each of the scatter symbols of the same kind in a column direction and fixing all the resulting scatter symbols of the same kind; (a4) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the scatter symbols of the same kind are fixed; and (a5) giving a payout according to the number of the scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
  • With this structure, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, each of the scatter symbols of the same kind is increased in a column direction and then fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols which are not fixed are rearranged. Then a payout is given according to the number of scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged. Thus, those scatter symbols of the same kind increased and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and makes it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • A slot machine of the present invention includes: a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged; and a controller. The controller is programmed to operate in the following steps of: (b1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (b2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged; (b3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols; (b4) increasing each of the specific symbols in a column direction and fixing all the resulting specific symbols; (b5) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and (b6) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
  • With this structure, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, these scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to specific symbols. Each of the specific symbols is increased in a column direction and then fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols which are not fixed are rearranged. Then a payout is given according to the number of specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged. Thus, those specific symbols increased and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and makes it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • A slot machine of the present invention includes: a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged; and a controller. The controller is programmed to operate in the following steps of: (c1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (c2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged; (c3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols; (c4) increasing each of the specific symbols by a predetermined number in each of two column directions and fixing all the resulting specific symbols; (c5) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and (c6) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
  • With this structure, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, these scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to specific symbols. Each of the specific symbols is increased by a predetermined number in each of two column directions and then fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols which are not fixed are rearranged. Then a payout is given according to the number of specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged. Thus, those specific symbols increased and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and makes it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • In addition, since the direction in which each specific symbol increases and the number of increase of each specific symbol are already determined, the number of specific symbols fixed will be different depending on a row in which a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged. This makes difference in the possibility of awarding a payout and the amount of payout which may be given, thereby increasing the diversity of a game.
  • A slot machine of the present invention includes: a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged; and a controller. The controller is programmed to operate in the following steps of: (d1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (d2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged; (d3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols; (d4) increasing each of the specific symbols in a column direction and fixing all the resulting specific symbols; (d5) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and (d6) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of specific symbols rearranged.
  • With this structure, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, these scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to specific symbols. Each of the specific symbols is increased in a column direction and then fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols which are not fixed are rearranged. Then a payout is given according to the number of specific symbols fixed and the number of specific symbols rearranged. Thus, those specific symbols increased and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and makes it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • A slot machine of the present invention includes: a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged; and a controller. The controller is programmed to operate in the following steps of: (e1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (e2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged; (e3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols; (e4) increasing each of the specific symbols by a predetermined number in each of two column directions and fixing all the resulting specific symbols; (e5) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and (e6) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of specific symbols rearranged.
  • With this structure, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, these scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to specific symbols. Each of the specific symbols is increased by a predetermined number in each of two column directions and then fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols which are not fixed are rearranged. Then a payout is given according to the number of specific symbols fixed and the number of specific symbols rearranged. Thus, those specific symbols increased and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and makes it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • In addition, since the direction in which each specific symbol increases and the number of increase of each specific symbol are already determined, the number of specific symbols fixed will be different depending on a row in which a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged. This makes difference in the possibility of awarding a payout and the amount of payout which may be given, thereby increasing the diversity of a game.
  • The present invention is a playing method of a slot machine, in which scatter symbols are arranged in a matrix of arrangement areas of a display, the arrangement areas being constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, the playing method of the slot machine including the steps of: (f1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (f2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged; (f3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, increasing each of the scatter symbols of the same kind in a column direction and fixing all the resulting scatter symbols of the same kind; (f4) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the scatter symbols of the same kind are fixed; and (f5) giving a payout according to the number of the scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
  • With this structure, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, each of the scatter symbols of the same kind is increased in a column direction and then fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols which are not fixed are rearranged. Then a payout is given according to the number of scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged. Thus, those scatter symbols of the same kind increased and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and makes it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • A slot machine of the present invention includes: a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, which arranges scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; and a controller. The controller is programmed to operate in the following steps of: (a1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (a2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged; (a3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, randomly determining whether to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind; (a4) when it is determined to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind, increasing each of the scatter symbols of the same kind in a column direction and fixing all the resulting scatter symbols of the same kind; (a5) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the scatter symbols of the same kind are fixed; and (a6) giving a payout according to the number of the scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
  • With this structure, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, it is randomly determined whether to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind. When it is determined to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind, each of the scatter symbols of the same kind is increased in a column direction and fixed. In this situation, scatter symbol which are not fixed are rearranged. Then, a payout is given according to the number of the scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged. Thus, when it is determined to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind, the resulting scatter symbols of the same kind, which are increased and fixed, provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and makes it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • A slot machine of the present invention includes: a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, which arranges scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; and a controller. The controller is programmed to operate in the following steps of: (b1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (b2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged; (b3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols; (b4) randomly determining whether to increase the specific symbols; (b5) when it is determined to increase the specific symbols, increasing each of the specific symbols in a column direction and fixing all the resulting specific symbols; (b6) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and (b7) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
  • With this structure, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, the scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to specific symbols, and it is randomly determined whether to increase the specific symbols. Then, when it is determined to increase the specific symbols, each of the specific symbols is increased in a column direction and fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols which are not fixed are rearranged. Then, a payout is given according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged. Thus, when it is determined to increase the specific symbols, the resulting specific symbols increased and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and makes it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • A slot machine of the present invention includes: a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, which arranges scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; and a controller. The controller is programmed to operate in the following steps of: (c1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (c2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged; (c3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, randomly determining whether to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind; (c4) when it is determined to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind, randomly determining an increase-number of each of the scatter symbols of the same kind to be increased; (c5) increasing each of the scatter symbol of the same kind in a column direction by the determined increase-number and fixing all the resulting scatter symbols of the same kind; (c6) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the scatter symbols of the same kind are fixed; and (c7) giving a payout according to the number of the scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
  • With this structure, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, it is randomly determined whether to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind. Then, when it is determined to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind, an increase-number is randomly determined. Each of the scatter symbols of the same kind is increased in a column direction by the determined increase-number and fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols which are not fixed are rearranged. Then, a payout is given according to the number of the scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged. Thus, when it is determined to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind, the resulting scatter symbols of the same kind, which are increased and fixed, provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and makes it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • A slot machine of the present invention includes: a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, which arranges scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; and a controller. The controller is programmed to operate in the following steps of: (d1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (d2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged; (d3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols; (d4) randomly determining whether to increase the specific symbols; (d5) when it is determined to increase the specific symbols, randomly determining an increase-number of each of the specific symbols to be increased; (d6) increasing each of the specific symbols in a column direction by the determined increase-number, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols; (d7) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and (d8) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
  • With this structure, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, the scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to specific symbols, and it is randomly determined whether to increase the specific symbols. Then, when it is determined to increase the specific symbols, an increase-number is randomly determined. Each of the specific symbols is increased in a column direction by the determined increase-number and fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols which are not fixed are rearranged. Then, a payout is given according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged. Thus, when it is determined to increase the specific symbols, the resulting specific symbols increased and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and makes it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • The present invention is a playing method of a slot machine, in which scatter symbols are arranged in a matrix of arrangement areas of a display, the arrangement areas being constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, the playing method of the slot machine including the steps of: (e1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (e2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged; (e3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, randomly determining whether to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind; (e4) when it is determined to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind, increasing each of the scatter symbols of the same kind in a column direction and fixing all the resulting scatter symbols of the same kind; (e5) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the scatter symbols of the same kind are fixed; and (e6) giving a payout according to the number of the scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
  • With this structure, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, it is randomly determined whether to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind. When it is determined to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind, each of the scatter symbols of the same kind is increased in a column direction and fixed. In this situation, scatter symbol which are not fixed are rearranged. Then, a payout is given according to the number of the scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged. Thus, when it is determined to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind, the resulting scatter symbols of the same kind, which are increased and fixed, provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and makes it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • A slot machine of the present invention includes: a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged; an input device which receives plural types of bet operations from outside; and a controller. The controller is programmed to operate in the following steps of: (a1) defining, in the arrangement areas, one or more active regions corresponding to a bet operation received by the input device; (a2) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (a3) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged; (a4) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, increasing the scatter symbols of the same kind in the active regions located in a column direction from the scatter symbols of the same kind respectively, and fixing all the resulting scatter symbols of the same kind; (a5) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the scatter symbols of the same kind are fixed; and (a6) giving a payout according to the number of the scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
  • With this structure, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row, the scatter symbols of the same kind are increased in the active regions located in a column direction from the scatter symbols of the same kind respectively, and fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols which are not fixed are rearranged. Then, a payout is given according to the number of the scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged. Thus, the scatter symbols of the same kind which are increased in the active regions and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and make it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • A slot machine of the present invention includes: a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged; an input device which receives plural types of bet operations from outside; and a controller. The controller is programmed to operate in the following steps of: (b1) defining, in the arrangement areas, one or more active regions corresponding to a bet operation received by the input device; (b2) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (b3) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged; (b4) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols; (b5) increasing the specific symbols in the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols respectively, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols; (b6) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and (b7) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
  • With this structure, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row, the scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to specific symbols. The specific symbols are increased in the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols respectively, and fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols which are not fixed are rearranged. Then, a payout is given according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged. Thus, the specific symbols which are increased in the active region and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and make it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • A slot machine of the present invention includes: a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged; an input device which receives plural types of bet operations from outside; and a controller. The controller is programmed to operate in the following steps of: (c1) defining, in the arrangement areas, one or more active regions corresponding to a bet operation received by the input device; (c2) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (c3) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged; (c4) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row having an active region as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols; (c5) increasing the specific symbols in the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols respectively, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols; (c6) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and (c7) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
  • With this structure, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row having an active region, the scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to specific symbols. The specific symbols are increased in the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols respectively, and fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols which are not fixed are rearranged. Then, a payout is given according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged. Thus, the specific symbols which are increased in the active regions and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and make it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • A slot machine of the present invention includes: a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged; an input device which receives plural types of bet operations from outside; and a controller. The controller is programmed to operate in the following steps of: (d1) defining, in the arrangement areas, one or more active regions corresponding to a bet operation received by the input device; (d2) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (d3) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged; (d4) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols; (d5) increasing the specific symbols in all of the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols respectively, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols; (d6) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and (d7) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
  • With this structure, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row, the scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to specific symbols. The specific symbols are increased in all of the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols respectively, and fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols which are not fixed are rearranged. Then, a payout is given according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged. Thus, the specific symbols which are increased in the active regions and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and make it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • A slot machine of the present invention includes: a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged; an input device which receives plural types of bet operations from outside; and a controller. The controller is programmed to operate in the following steps of: (e1) defining, in the arrangement areas, one or more active regions corresponding to a bet operation received by the input device; (e2) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (e3) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged; (e4) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row having an active region as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols; (e5) increasing the specific symbols in all of the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols respectively, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols; (e6) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and (e7) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
  • With this structure, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row having an active region, the scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to specific symbols. The specific symbols are increased in all of the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols respectively, and fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols which are not fixed are rearranged. Then, a payout is given according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged. Thus, the specific symbols which are increased in the active regions and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and make it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • The present invention is a playing method of a slot machine, in which scatter symbols are arranged in a matrix of arrangement areas of a display, the arrangement areas being constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, the playing method of the slot machine including the steps of: (f1) defining, in the arrangement areas, one or more active regions corresponding to a bet operation received by an input device; (f2) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (f3) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged; (f4) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, increasing the scatter symbols of the same kind in the active regions located in a column direction from the scatter symbols of the same kind respectively, and fixing all the resulting scatter symbols of the same kind; (f5) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the scatter symbols of the same kind are fixed; and (f6) giving a payout according to the number of the scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
  • With this structure, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row, the scatter symbols of the same kind are increased in the active regions located in a column direction from the scatter symbols of the same kind respectively, and fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols which are not fixed are rearranged. Then, a payout is given according to the number of the scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged. Thus, the scatter symbols of the same kind which are increased in the active regions and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and make it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • With the above-described structure, it is possible to provide a slot machine having an entertainment characteristic unobtainable from a conventional art, and a playing method thereof.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is an explanatory view showing a playing method of a slot machine.
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the slot machine.
  • FIG. 3 is an explanatory view of a display screen.
  • FIG. 4 is another explanatory view of the display screen.
  • FIG. 5 is another explanatory view of the display screen.
  • FIG. 6 is a table showing symbols and code numbers of the symbols.
  • FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing an appearance of the slot machine.
  • FIG. 8 is a block diagram showing a control board of the slot machine.
  • FIG. 9 is a flow chart of a boot process.
  • FIG. 10 is a flow chart of a game execution process.
  • FIG. 11 is a flow chart of a bonus game process.
  • FIG. 12 is an explanatory view illustrating a playing method of a slot machine.
  • FIG. 13 is a block diagram of the slot machine.
  • FIG. 14 is an explanatory view of a display screen.
  • FIG. 15 is another explanatory view of the display screen.
  • FIG. 16 is another explanatory view of the display screen.
  • FIG. 17 is a table showing symbols and code numbers of the symbols.
  • FIG. 18 is a perspective view illustrating an appearance of the slot machine.
  • FIG. 19 is a block diagram illustrating a control board of the slot machine.
  • FIG. 20 is a diagram illustrating an increase-number determination table.
  • FIG. 21 is a flow chart of a boot process.
  • FIG. 22 is a flow chart of a game execution process.
  • FIG. 23 is a flow chart of a bonus game process.
  • FIG. 24 is an explanatory view illustrating a playing method of a slot machine.
  • FIG. 25 is a block diagram of the slot machine.
  • FIG. 26 is an explanatory view of a display screen.
  • FIG. 27 is another explanatory view of the display screen.
  • FIG. 28 is another explanatory view of the display screen.
  • FIG. 29 is a table showing symbols and code numbers of the symbols.
  • FIG. 30 is a perspective view illustrating an appearance of the slot machine.
  • FIG. 31 is a block diagram illustrating a control board of the slot machine.
  • FIG. 32 is a flow chart of a boot process.
  • FIG. 33 is a flow chart of a game execution process.
  • FIG. 34 is a flow chart of a bonus game process.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Embodiment 1
  • The following describes Embodiment 1 of a slot machine and playing method thereof according to the present invention. Note that reference numerals respectively given to members in the figures referred to in this embodiment, reference symbols (such as “S”) respectively representing steps in flowcharts in the figures, and description using these reference numerals and reference symbols are effective only in this embodiment. Each of these numerals and symbols does not represent a member or step in other embodiments.
  • As shown in FIG. 1, a slot machine executes a playing method including: rearranging scatter symbols 180 in a matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, of a display; giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged; when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols 181; increasing each of the specific symbols 181 by a predetermined number in each of two column directions and fixing all the resulting specific symbols 181; rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the specific symbols 181 are fixed; and giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of specific symbols 181 rearranged.
  • In this embodiment, “row” means a symbol row in a horizontal direction of the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, and “column” means a symbol column in a vertical direction of the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155. In addition, “column direction” means a direction in which scatter symbols 180 are scrolled, while “row direction” means a direction perpendicular to the direction in which scatter symbols 180 are scrolled. The matrix of the arrangement areas 151 to 155 is constituted of five columns and three rows.
  • Also in this embodiment, “specific symbol” means a WILD symbol 181. The WILD symbol 181 is an “almighty symbol”, which can be substituted for any of plural kinds of scatter symbols 180. In other words, a WILD symbol 181 may be regarded as a scatter symbol of “HERO”, or as a scatter symbol of “JET”. Note that scatter symbols 180 includes eight kinds of scatter symbols which are “HERO”, “JET”, “VILLA”, “GOLD BAR”, “CAR”, “STOCK CERTIFICATE”, “RIVAL”, and “DIAMOND”, and the WILD symbol 181 which is “WILD”.
  • Meanwhile, in this embodiment, “predetermined number” of “a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind” means the number from “three to five”. That is, when three to five scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, these scatter symbol of the same kind will be transformed into WILD symbols 181. Note that the “predetermined number” of “a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind” is not limited to “three to five”. Further, in this embodiment, “predetermined number” of “increasing . . . by a predetermined number in each of two column directions” means the number of “one”. That is, each of the WILD symbols 181 transformed from the scatter symbols of the same kind is increased by one in each of two column directions, and all the resulting WILD symbols 181 are fixed. Note that the “predetermined number” of “increasing . . . by a predetermined number in each of two column directions” is not limited to “one”.
  • [Display 101]
  • As shown in FIG. 2, the slot machine which executes the above-described playing method has a display 101, and a controller 100. The display 101 has the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155. In these arrangement areas 151 to 155, more than one kind of scatter symbol 180 is arranged.
  • Here, “arranged” means a state where scatter symbols 180 are visually identifiable by a player. In other words, it represents a state where scatter symbols 180 are displayed in the arrangement areas 151 to 155, as shown in FIG. 3. Meanwhile, “to rearrange” means to arrange scatter symbols 180 again after releasing them.
  • The display 101 may be mechanically structured with a reel device which arranges scatter symbols utilizing the rotation of a reel. Alternatively, the display 101 may have an electrical structure in which scatter symbols are arranged in a video reel displayed as an image. Further, the display 101 may have a structure of a combination of the mechanical structure (reels) and the electrical structure (video reels). The electrical structure may include a liquid crystal display device, a CRT (cathode-ray tube) device, a plasma display device, or the like. The specific structure of the display 101 will be detailed later.
  • [Controller 100]
  • The controller 100 is configured to execute: a first process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 in a matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, of a display; a second process of giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged; a third process of, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols 181; a fourth process of increasing each of the specific symbols 181 by a predetermined number in each of two column directions and fixing all the resulting specific symbols 181; a fifth process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the specific symbols 181 are fixed; and a sixth process of giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of specific symbols 181 rearranged. In other words, the controller 100 has a first processing unit, a second processing unit, a third processing unit, a fourth processing unit, a fifth processing unit, and a sixth processing unit.
  • The controller 100 has a symbol memory 108 which stores all the scatter symbols 180, and a display symbol memory 107 which stores scatter symbols to be displayed among the scatter symbols 180 stored in the symbol memory 108. The display symbol memory 107 can be accessed by a display control unit 114. In response to a control by a game execution unit 110, the display control unit 114 reads out the scatter symbols in the display symbol memory 107, and displays the scatter symbols on the display 101. A specific display state will be detailed later.
  • The controller 100 has a rearrangement symbol determination unit 106 which determines scatter symbols to be rearranged (hereinafter, rearrangement scatter symbols) every unit game, based on the scatter symbols 180 stored in the symbol memory 108. The rearrangement scatter symbols determined by the rearrangement symbol determination unit 106 are stored in a rearrangement symbol memory 105. Then, the rearrangement scatter symbols are output to the display symbol memory 107. After that, the rearrangement scatter symbols are displayed on the display 101 through image processing performed in the display control unit 114. That is, the controller 100 executes the first process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 in the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, of the display 101.
  • Further, the controller 100 is connected to a game start unit 109. The game start unit 109 has a function of outputting a game start signal in response to an operation by a player. The controller 100 has: the game execution unit 110 which executes a unit game of rearranging scatter symbols 180, triggered by a game start signal from the game start unit 109; a combination payout determination unit 111 which determines a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged in a unit game; and a payout giving unit 113 which gives a payout determined by the combination payout determination unit 111. That is, the controller 100 executes the second process of giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged.
  • The controller 100 has a specific symbol position determination unit 115 and a specific symbol position memory 116. To the specific symbol position determination unit 115 are input rearrangement scatter symbols which are determined by the rearrangement symbol determination unit 106 and stored in the rearrangement symbol memory 105.
  • Based on the rearrangement scatter symbols input from the rearrangement symbol memory 105, the specific symbol position determination unit 115 determines if three to five scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180 in a unit game. When the specific symbol position determination unit 115 determines that three to five scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, it determines the positions of the scatter symbols of the same kind (“same kind symbol-positions”) as positions of WILD symbols 181. It also determines, as positions of WILD symbols 181, the arrangement areas (each corresponding to one symbol) each adjacent to each of the same kind symbol-positions in each of two column directions, among the arrangement areas 151 to 155.
  • The specific symbol position memory 116 stores therein the positions of WILD symbols 181 determined by the specific symbol position determination unit 115, and outputs the positions of the WILD symbols 181 to the display symbol memory 107 after a unit game is finished. In the display symbol memory 107, the scatter symbols 180 respectively placed in the positions of the WILD symbols 181 are replaced to WILD symbols 181 and stored. Then, the WILD symbols 181 stored in the display symbol memory 107 are used in image processing performed in the display control unit 114. Accordingly, the scatter symbols of the same kind displayed on the display 101 are replaced to WILD symbols 181, and each of the WILD symbols 181 is increased by one in each of two column directions. Then, all the resulting WILD symbols 181 are fixed and displayed. That is, the controller 100 executes: the third process of, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols 181; and the fourth process of increasing each of the specific symbols 181 by a predetermined number in each of two column directions and fixing all the resulting specific symbols 181.
  • The game execution unit 110 executes a unit game of rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the WILD symbols 181 are fixed on the display 101. The combination payout determination unit 111 determines a payout according to the number of the WILD symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 (including the WILD symbols 181) rearranged. The payout giving unit 113 gives the payout determined by the combination payout determination unit 111. That is, the controller 100 executes: the fifth process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the specific symbols 181 are fixed; and a sixth process of giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of specific symbols 181 rearranged.
  • Each of the blocks of the controller 100 may be realized in the form of hardware or in the form of software if necessary.
  • [Operation of Controller 100]
  • The following describes an operation of the controller 100 having the above-described structure. First, rearrangement scatter symbols are determined by the rearrangement symbol determination unit 106. The rearrangement scatter symbols determined are stored in the rearrangement symbol memory 105. Then, the rearrangement scatter symbols stored in the rearrangement symbol memory 105 are stored in the display symbol memory 107 and the specific symbol position determination unit 115. Then, the rearrangement scatter symbols stored in the display symbol memory 107 are prepared to be displayed by the display control unit 114 on the display 101. When the game execution unit 110 executes a unit game, scatter symbols 180 are rearranged by having the display 101 display thereon the rearrangement scatter symbols stored in the display symbol memory 107. Thus, the controller 100 executes the first process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 in a matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, of the display 101.
  • Then, the combination payout determination unit 111 and the payout giving unit 113 give a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged. Thus, the controller 100 executes the second process of giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged.
  • Meanwhile, the rearrangement scatter symbols stored in the specific symbol position determination unit 115 are used to determine the positions of WILD symbols 181. Specifically, when three to five scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, the positions of these scatter symbols of the same kind are determined as positions of WILD symbols 181. Also, there are determined, as positions of WILD symbols 181, the arrangement areas (each corresponding to one symbol) each adjacent to each of the same kind symbol-positions in each of two column directions, among the arrangement areas 151 to 155. On the other hand, if three to five scatter symbols of a same kind are not rearranged in any row in a row direction, the positions of WILD symbols 181 are not determined.
  • The positions of WILD symbols 181 determined by the specific symbol position determination unit 115 are stored in the specific symbol position memory 116, and are output to the display symbol memory 107 after a unit game is finished. In the display symbol memory 107, the scatter symbols 180 placed in the respective positions of WILD symbols 181 are replaced to WILD symbols 181 and stored. Then, the WILD symbols 181 stored in the display symbol memory 107 are used in image processing performed in the display control unit 114. Accordingly, the scatter symbols of the same kind displayed on the display 101 are replaced to WILD symbols 181, and each of the WILD symbols 181 is increased by one in each of two column directions. Then, all the resulting WILD symbols 181 are fixed and displayed. Thus, the controller 100 executes: the third process of, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols 181; and the fourth process of increasing each of the specific symbols 181 by a predetermined number in each of two column directions and fixing all the resulting specific symbols 181.
  • After that, a unit game is executed by the game execution unit 110, in which not-fixed scatter symbols 180 are rearranged while the WILD symbols 181 are fixed on the display 101. Then, the combination payout determination unit 111 and the payout giving unit 113 give a payout according to the number of WILD symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 (including the WILD symbols 181) rearranged. Thus, the controller 100 executes: the fifth process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the specific symbols 181 are fixed; and the sixth process of giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of specific symbols 181 rearranged.
  • As clearly seen from the above operations, as well as shown in FIG. 1, the slot machine 1 realizes a playing method including: rearranging scatter symbols 180 in a matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, of the display 101; giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged; when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols (WILD symbols) 181; increasing each of the specific symbols 181 by a predetermined number in each of two column directions and fixing all the resulting specific symbols 181; rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the specific symbols 181 are fixed; and giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of specific symbols 181 rearranged.
  • According to the above-described playing method, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols 180 of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, these scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to specific symbols (WILD symbols) 181. Each of the specific symbols is increased by a predetermined number in each of two column directions and then fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed are rearranged. Then, a payout is given according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of specific symbols 181 rearranged. Thus, those specific symbols 181 increased and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and makes it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • In addition, since the direction in which each specific symbol 181 increases and the number of increase of each specific symbol 181 are already determined, the number of specific symbols 181 fixed will be different depending on a row in which a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged. This makes difference in the possibility of awarding a payout and the amount of payout which may be given, thereby increasing the diversity of a game.
  • [Display State]
  • Specifically described hereinafter is an exemplary display state of the display 101 in the slot machine 1 and in the operation process of the playing method thereof. The following description deals with a case where scatter symbols are arranged on the display 101 of a video reel-type, as shown in FIG. 3.
  • The display 101 has arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 in which scatter symbols 180 are arranged. In the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, symbol columns having more than one scatter symbol 180 is scroll-displayed, respectively. Each of the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 is divided into an upper row 151 a, a middle row 151 b, and a lower row 151 c. Scatter symbols 180 are stopped (arranged) in the rows 151 a, 151 b, and 151 c of the respective arrangement areas. For example, in FIG. 3, “GOLD BAR” is stopped in the upper row 151 a of the arrangement area 151, “HERO” is stopped in the middle row 151 b of the arrangement area 151, and “JET” is stopped in the lower row 151 c of the arrangement area 151. Thus, the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 display a symbol matrix of five columns and three rows. Note that the symbol matrix is not limited to a matrix of five columns and three rows.
  • This embodiment deals with a case where a process of paying out a coin or the like is performed when a predetermined number (e.g., four) or more scatter symbols of a same kind are displayed in the symbol matrix. However, it is possible to employ such a configuration that, for example, a payline L is provided so as to cross the middle row 151 b of the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, and when scatter symbols stopped on the payline L correspond to a predetermined combination, a coin is paid out.
  • As shown in FIG. 3, when a predetermined number (three to five) of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, a bonus game is triggered. As a result, the scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to WILD symbols 181. In FIG. 3, three scatter symbols 180 of a same kind (“HERO”) are rearranged in the middle row 151 b of the arrangement areas 151, 152, and 153. Therefore, these three scatter symbols 180 are replaced to WILD symbols 181.
  • Each of the WILD symbols 181 replaced from the scatter symbols 180 of the same kind is increased by one in each of two column directions, and all the resulting WILD symbols 181 are fixed. In the case where three scatter symbols 180 of a same kind (“HERO”) are rearranged in the middle row 151 b of the arrangement areas 151, 152, and 153 (the case shown in FIG. 3), each of the WILD symbols 181 is increased in the upper row 151 a and the lower row 151 c of the arrangement areas 151, 152, and 153, and then fixed, as shown in FIG. 4. In a bonus game, scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed are rearranged while the WILD symbols 181 are fixed. Then, a payout is given according to the number of WILD symbols 181 fixed and the number of each kind of scatter symbols 180 (including a WILD symbol 181) rearranged.
  • In the case of a state shown in FIG. 4, a payout may be given in a bonus game includes: a payout corresponding to nine WILD symbols 181; a payout corresponding ten or more WILD symbols 181; and a payout corresponding to nine WILD symbols 181 and one or more scatter symbols 180 (other than WILD symbol) of a same kind.
  • As shown in FIG. 5, in the case where scatter symbols 180 of a same kind (“HERO”) are rearranged in the upper row 151 a of the arrangement areas 151, 152, and 154, each of the WILD symbols 181 is increased only in the middle row 151 b of the arrangement areas 151, 152, and 154 and then fixed, since each of the WILD symbols 181 cannot be increased in further upper areas from the upper row 151 a of the arrangement areas 151, 152, and 154.
  • In the case of a state shown in FIG. 5, a payout may be given in a bonus game includes: a payout corresponding to six WILD symbols 181; a payout corresponding to seven or more WILD symbols 181; and a payout corresponding to six WILD symbols 181 and one or more scatter symbols 180 (other than WILD symbol) of a same kind.
  • [Scatter Symbols]
  • As shown in FIG. 6, scatter symbols 180 displayed in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 of the display 101 constitute symbol columns, each symbol column having twenty-two scatter symbols. Each symbol of each symbol column has a code number, any one of numbers from 0 to 21. Each symbol column is constituted of a combination of scatter symbols of “HERO”, “JET”, “VILLA”, “GOLD BAR”, “CAR”, “STOCK CERTIFICATE”, “RIVAL”, “DIAMOND”, and “WILD”.
  • Successive three scatter symbols of each symbol column are displayed (arranged) respectively in the upper row 151 a, the middle row 151 b, and the lower row 151 c of each of the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, thereby constituting a symbol matrix of five columns and three rows. When a later-mentioned BET button and a spin button are sequentially pressed in this order to start a game, scatter symbols constituting a symbol matrix start to scroll. After the symbols are scrolled for a predetermined period of time, the scrolling of symbols stops (symbols are rearranged).
  • When a predetermined number or more scatter symbols of a same kind are displayed in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, a player gets an advantage. To get an advantage means that coins are paid out according to scatter symbols displayed, the value of coins to be paid out is added to a credit value, a bonus game is started, or the like.
  • Specifically, when four or more scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, twenty coins (game media) are paid out for one bet. When a predetermined number (three to five) of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, a bonus game is triggered. This causes a transition of gaming state from a basic game to a bonus game.
  • Here, a bonus game is a gaming state which provides a larger advantage than a basic game. In this embodiment, the bonus game is a free game. The free game is a game which allows a player to play a unit game a predetermined number of times (in this embodiment, five times) without betting a coin. Note that another bonus game may be employed in combination, provided that the other bonus game is advantageous to a player, i.e., the other bonus game is more advantageous than a basic game. For example, that other bonus game which may be employed is a game providing: a state where a larger amount of game media can be obtained than in a basic game; a state where game media can be obtained more likely than in a basic game; or a state where a smaller amount of game media are consumed than in a basic game.
  • [Mechanical Structure of the Slot Machine 1]
  • Next, the following describes a specific example of mechanical and electrical structures of the slot machine 1 thus structured.
  • As shown in FIG. 7, the slot machine 1 is an upright slot machine and has a cabinet 3 for housing electrical or mechanical components for executing a predetermined game mode. As a display unit 4 for displaying game information in response to a player's game operation, there may be provided an upper variable display unit 4A, a middle variable display unit 4B, and a lower variable display unit 4C. The display units 4A to 4C are attached to the front face of the cabinet 3 having a longer length in the vertical direction.
  • The upper variable display unit 4A has a transparent upper liquid crystal panel 5A fixed to a front door of the cabinet 3. The upper liquid crystal panel 5A displays thereon an image showing, for example, an effect image, an introduction of a game, or rules of the game.
  • The middle variable display unit 4B is a display panel for rotating symbols, which is to be constantly viewed by a player. The middle variable display unit 4B has a transparent center liquid crystal panel 5B fixed to the front door of the cabinet 3. On the center liquid crystal panel 5B, five arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 are displayed. Further, on the center liquid crystal panel 5B, an effect of moving images is performed at a time of winning or the like. Further, in an upper portion of the center liquid crystal panel 5B, a payout number indicator 8 and a credit number indicator 9 are displayed.
  • The lower variable display unit 4C has a lower liquid crystal panel 5C which displays the number of points stored in a card or the number of points of a game. Such a number is displayed on the lower liquid crystal panel 5C based on a result displayed on the middle variable display unit 4B. When a winning combination is achieved in the middle variable display unit 4B, the number of points of the game displayed on the lower liquid crystal panel 5C is increased according to the type of the winning achieved. On the left of the lower liquid crystal panel 5C, a ticket printer 14 is provided. On the right of the lower liquid crystal panel 5C, a card reader 15 is provided. Note that winning means an occasion where four or more scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged, awarding various payouts according to the result.
  • Below the lower variable display unit 4C is disposed an operation table 10 which protrudes forward from the front face of the cabinet 3. On the operation table 10, there are arranged operation buttons 11 (e.g., a spin button 73, change button 74, cash-out button 75, 1-BET button 76, maximum BET button 77, or the like) serving as a control panel which enables a player to perform a game-related operation. In addition, the operation table 10 is provided with a coin insertion slot 12 and a bill insertion slot 13.
  • Below the operation table 10, a waist-high panel 17 is disposed. The waist-high panel 17 is a plastic panel having a game-related image printed thereon. This waist-high panel 17 is fixed to a lower front door 18 and illuminated by a cold cathode tube. Further, below the waist-high panel 17 is disposed a coin receiving tray 19 for storing a coin paid out based on a game result.
  • Further, lamps 30 are disposed on the cabinet 3 of the slot machine 1 so as to surround game areas including the upper variable display unit 4A, the middle variable display unit 4B, the lower variable display unit 4C, and the operation table 10. The lamps 30 include side lamps 22, speaker lamps 24, under lamps 25, and top lamps 26. The side lamps 22 are provided on inclined parts 21 provided at the front right and front left of the cabinet 3, each of which parts protruding in a bow shape so as to extend over the upper variable display unit 4A, the middle variable display unit 4B and the lower variable display unit 4C. The speaker lamps 24 are provided on arc-shaped speakers 23 which protrudes sideways at the right and a left ends of the cabinet 3 adjacent to the operation table 10. The speaker lamps 24 are arranged along edges of the speakers 23. The under lamps 25 are provided on the lower front door 18 and arranged along a lower edge of the waist-high panel 17. The top lamps 26 are provided above the upper variable display unit 4A. The top lamps include power lamps 26 a disposed at both sides respectively and band-type lamps 26 b arranged in a horizontal direction between the power lamps.
  • [Electrical Structure of the Slot Machine 1]
  • Inside the cabinet 3 is provided a control unit including the controller 100 of FIG. 2. As shown in FIG. 8, the control unit includes components such as a motherboard 40, a main body PCB (Printed Circuit Board) 60, a gaming board 50, a sub CPU 61, a door PCB 80, various switches, and a sensor.
  • The gaming board 50 is provided with a CPU (Central Processing Unit) 51, a ROM 55 and a boot ROM 52, a card slot 53S for a memory card 53, and an IC socket 54S for a GAL (Generic Array Logic) 54, which are connected to one another through an internal bus.
  • The memory card 53 stores therein a game program and a game system program. The game program contains a program to determine symbols to be stopped (hereinafter “stop symbol determination program”). The stop symbol determination program is a program for determining a symbol matrix of five columns and three rows. This stop symbol determination program contains sets of symbol weighting data respectively correspond to several kinds of payout rates (e.g., 80%, 84%, and 88%). Each set of symbol weighting data indicates, for each of the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, a relation between a code number of each symbol and at least one random number values. The random number value is a value within a predetermined range of 0 to 256 for example.
  • A payout rate is set based on payout rate setting data output from the GAL 54. Rearrangement symbols are determined based on a set of symbol weighting data corresponding to the payout rate set.
  • The memory card 53 stores therein various types of data for use in the game program and game system program. Specifically, the memory card 53 stores, in the form of table data, data indicating a relation between scatter symbols 180 displayed in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 in FIG. 3 and a range of random number values. This data is transferred to a RAM 43 of the motherboard 40, at a time of execution of the game program.
  • The card slot 53S is structured so that the memory card 53 is inserted/removed thereto/therefrom. This card slot 53S is connected to the motherboard 40 via an IDE bus. Thus, the type and content of a game run by the slot machine 1 can be modified by removing the memory card 53 from the card slot 53S, writing a different game program and game system program into the memory card 53, and inserting the memory card 53 back to the card slot 53S.
  • The game program includes a program related to the progress of a game and/or a program for causing a transition to a bonus game. Also, the game program includes image data and audio data output during a game.
  • The GAL 54 has input ports and output ports. Upon the input of data to an input port, the GAL 54 outputs data corresponding to the input data from an output port. This data from output the output port is the before-mentioned payout rate setting data.
  • The IC socket 54S is structured so that the GAL 54 is attached/detached thereto/therefrom. The IC socket 54S is connected to the motherboard 40 via a PCI bus. Thus, the payout rate setting data to be output from the GAL 54 can be modified by detaching GAL 54 from the IC socket 54S, overwriting a program stored in the GAL 45, and attaching the GAL45 back to the IC socket 54S.
  • The CPU 51, the ROM 55, and the boot ROM 52, which are connected to one another via the internal bus, are connected to the motherboard 40 via the PCI bus. The PCI bus communicates a signal between the motherboard 40 and the gaming board 50, and supplies power from the motherboard 40 to the gaming board 50. The ROM 55 stores therein country identification information and an authentication program. The boot ROM 52 stores therein a preliminary authentication program, a program (boot code) for enabling the CPU 51 to run the preliminary authentication program, or the like.
  • The authentication program is a program (falsification check program) for authenticating the game program and the game system program. The authentication program is a program for confirming and verifying that the game program and the game system program are not falsified. In other words, the authentication program is described in accordance with a procedure for authenticating the game program and the game system program. The preliminary authentication program is a program for authenticating the authentication program. The preliminary authentication program is described in accordance with a procedure for verifying that the authentication program to be authenticated is not falsified. In short, the preliminary authentication program authenticates the authentication program.
  • The motherboard 40 is provided with a main CPU 41 (controller), a ROM (Read Only Memory) 42, the RAM (Random Access Memory) 43, and a communications interface 44.
  • The main CPU 41 serves as a controller that controls the overall slot machine 1. Specifically, the main CPU 41 performs the controls of: outputting a command signal, upon pressing the spin button 73 after a bet of credit, to the sub CPU 61 so as to scroll-display scatter symbols on the center liquid crystal panel 5B; determining symbols to be stopped after the scroll-display of symbols; and stopping the determined symbols in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155.
  • That is, the main CPU 41 functions as an arrangement controller to execute an arrangement control by which, among various kinds of scatter symbols, symbols to be arranged in a symbol matrix are selected and determined, and then scrolling of the symbols is stopped so that the determined symbol matrix appears. With this function, scatter symbols displayed while being scrolled on the center liquid crystal panel 5B are rearranged in a new symbol matrix.
  • The main CPU 41 also functions as a controller 100 which executes: the first process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 in a matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, of the display 101 (center liquid crystal panel 5B); the second process of giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged; the third process of, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols (WILD symbols) 181; the fourth process of increasing each of the specific symbols 181 by a predetermined number in each of two column directions and fixing all the resulting specific symbols 181; the fifth process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the specific symbols 181 are fixed; and the sixth process of giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of specific symbols 181 rearranged.
  • The ROM 42 stores a program such as BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) run by the main CPU 41, and data that is permanently used. When the BIOS is run by the main CPU 41, each of peripheral devices is initialized and the game program and the game system program stored in the memory card 53 are read out through the gaming board 50.
  • The RAM 43 stores data or program used for the main CPU 41 to perform a process. For example, in the RAM 43 are formed: the symbol memory 108, the display symbol memory 107, the rearrangement symbol memory 105, and the specific symbol position memory 116, which are shown in FIG. 2, in the forms of data areas, respectively. In the data area of the symbol memory 108, scatter symbols 180 are stored in the form of a data table of FIG. 6. In the data area of the rearrangement symbol memory 105, rearrangement symbols are stored. In the data area of the specific symbol position memory 116, positions of WILD symbols 181 are stored. In the data area of the display symbol memory 107, a symbol matrix including WILD symbols 181 fixed are stored.
  • The communications interface 44 communicates via a communication line with a host computer or the like provided in a game arcade. The motherboard 40 is connected to the main body PCB (Printed Circuit Board) 60 and the door PCB 80 through USBs (Universal Serial Buses). Further, the motherboard 40 is connected to a power unit 45. The power unit 45 supplies power to the motherboard 40 to boot the main CPU 41 thereof. Meanwhile, the power unit 45 supplies power to the gaming board 50 through the PCI bus to boot the CPU 51.
  • The main body PCB 60 and the door PCB 80 are connected to: a device or apparatus which generates an input signal to be input to the main CPU 41; and a device or apparatus controlled by a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The main CPU 41 runs the game program and the game system program stored in the RAM 43 based on the input signal input to the main CPU 41, to carry out an arithmetic process, thereby storing a result thereof in the RAM 43 or transmitting a control signal to each device or apparatus to control them.
  • The main body PCB 60 is connected to the lamps 30 (to be more specific, the side lamps 22, the speaker lamps 24, the under lamps 25, and the top lamps 26), the sub CPU 61, a hopper 66, a coin detecting unit 67, a graphic board 68, the speakers 23, a bill validator 62, the ticket printer 14, the card reader 15, and a key switch 38S.
  • The lamps 30 are turned on/off based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The sub CPU 61 controls an operation of scrolling symbols in the arrangement areas 151 to 155, and is connected to a later-mentioned VDP (Video Display Processor). The VDP reads out image data of symbols stored in an image data ROM (not shown), then generates an image of scrolling symbols to be displayed in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 to output the image to the center liquid crystal panel 5B.
  • The hopper 66 is provided in the cabinet 3, and pays out a predetermined number of coins from a coin payout opening to the coin receiving tray 19 based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The coin detecting unit 67 is provided inside the coin payout opening, and outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 when detecting that a predetermined number of coins are paid out from the coin payout opening.
  • The graphic board 68 controls image displaying of the upper liquid crystal panel 5A, the center liquid crystal panel 5B, and the lower liquid crystal panel 5C, based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The graphic board 68 is provided with a VDP which generates image data based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41, a video RAM which temporarily stores image data generated by the VDP, and the like.
  • The bill validator 62 reads an image on a bill inserted to the bill insertion slot 13 and accepts a genuine bill into the cabinet 3. When accepting a genuine bill, the bill validator 62 outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 corresponding to the amount of the bill. The main CPU 41 stores in the RAM 43 the number of credits corresponding to the amount of the bill transmitted by the input signal.
  • Based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41, the ticket printer 14 prints a bar code on a ticket, and then outputs the ticket with a bar code. Data such as the number of credits stored in the RAM 43, time and date, identification number of a slot machine 1, or the like is encoded to the bar code.
  • The card reader 15 reads data from a smart card to transmit them to the main CPU 41, or write data to a smart card based on a control signal from the main CPU 41. The key switch 38S is mounted on a keypad (not shown), and outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 in response to an operation of the keypad by a player.
  • The door PCB 80 is connected to a control panel 70, a reverter 71S, a coin counter 71C, and a cold cathode tube 81. The control panel 70 is provided with: a spin switch 73S corresponding to the spin button 73, a change switch 74S corresponding to the change button 74, a cash-out switch 75S corresponding to the cash-out button 75, a 1-BET switch 76S corresponding to the 1-BET button 76, and a maximum BET switch 77S corresponding to the maximum BET button 77. These switches 73S to 77S output input signals to the main CPU 41 upon operations of the corresponding buttons 73 to 77 by a player, respectively.
  • The coin counter 71C is provided inside the coin insertion slot 12, and validates whether a coin inserted by a player into the coin insertion slot 12 is genuine. Anything other than a genuine coin is discharged to the coin receiving tray 19. The coin counter 71C outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 when detecting a genuine coin.
  • The reverter 71S is operated based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The reverter 71S distributes a coin that is recognized as genuine by the coin counter 71C to a cash box (not shown) or the hopper 66 mounted in the slot machine 1. In other words, when the hopper 66 is filled with coins, the reverter 71S distributes a genuine coin to the cash box. On the other hand, when the hopper 66 is not filled with coins, a genuine coin is distributed to the hopper 66. The cold cathode tube 81 functions as a backlight mounted to the rear sides of the upper liquid crystal panel 5A and the center liquid crystal panel 5B. The cold cathode tube 81 is turned on based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41.
  • [Process Operation of the Slot Machine 1]
  • Next, the process operation of the slot machine 1 will be described.
  • [Boot Process]
  • First, the main CPU 41 of the slot machine 1 executes a boot process routine shown in FIG. 9. This boot process routine is performed by the motherboard 40 and the gaming board 50. The memory card 53 is assumed to be inserted into the card slot 53S of the gaming board 50, and the GAL 54 is assumed to be attached to the IC socket 54S.
  • First, turning on a power switch of (powering on) the power unit 45 boots the motherboard 40 and the gaming board 50. Booting the motherboard 40 and the gaming board 50 starts separate processes in parallel. That is, in the gaming board 50, the CPU 51 reads out the preliminary authentication program stored in the boot ROM 52, and according to the preliminary authentication program read out, the CPU 51 performs the preliminary authentication to confirm and verify that the authentication program is not falsified, before reading that program in the motherboard 40 (S101).
  • On the other hand, in the motherboard 40, the main CPU 41 runs the BIOS stored in the ROM 42, to load into the RAM 43 compressed data built in the BIOS (S1). Then, the main CPU 41 runs a procedure of the BIOS according to the data loaded into the RAM 43 so as to diagnose and initialize various peripheral devices (S2).
  • The main CPU 41, which is connected to the ROM 55 of the gaming board 50 via the PCI bus, reads out the authentication program stored in the ROM 55, and stores it in the RAM 43 (S3). During this step, the main CPU 41 derives a checksum through ADDSUM method (a standard check function) which is adopted in a standard BIOS, and stores the authentication program in the RAM 43 while confirming if the operation of storing is carried out without an error.
  • Next, the main CPU 41 checks what is connected via the IDE bus. Then, the main CPU 41 accesses via the IDE bus to the memory card 53 inserted into the card slot 53S to read out the game program and the game system program from the memory card 53. In this case, the main CPU 41 reads out four bytes of data constituting the game program and the game system program at one time. Subsequently, according to the authentication program stored in the RAM 43, the main CPU 41 performs an authentication to confirm and verify that the game program and game system program read out are not falsified (S4). When this authentication process is properly finished, the main CPU 41 writes and store in the RAM 43 the game program and game system program which were the subjects of the authentication (authenticated) (S5).
  • Then, the main CPU 41 accesses, via the PCI bus, the GAL 54 attached to the IC socket 54S, and reads out the payout rate setting data from the GAL 54, which data is written to and stored in the RAM 43 (S6). Next, the main CPU 41 reads out, via the PCI bus, the country identification information stored in the ROM 55 of the gaming board 50. The country identification information read out is stored in the RAM 43 (S7).
  • Then, the main CPU 41 determines if the writing to the RAM 43 is normally performed (S8). When it is determined that the writing to the RAM 43 is normally performed (S8, YES), the sensor is checked (S9). Then, it is determined if the sensor is normal (S10). When it is determined that the sensor is normal (S10, YES), the operation of a drive mechanism is checked (S11). Then, it is determined if the operation of the drive mechanism is normal (S12). When it is determined that the operation of the drive mechanism is normal (S12, YES), the operation of illuminations (the lamps 30 or the like) is checked (S13). Then, it is determined if the operation of illuminations is normal (S14). When it is determined that the operation of the illuminations is normal (S14, YES), a boot signal is output (S15), the game program and game system program are read out from the RAM 43 (S16), a game execution process is executed (S17), and this routine ends.
  • In the cases where: it is determined that the writing to the RAM 43 is not normally performed in the step S8 (S8, NO); it is determined that the sensor is not normal in the step S10 (S10, NO); it is determined that the operation of the drive mechanism is not normal in the step S12 (S12, NO); or it is determined that the operation of the illuminations is not normal in the step S14 (S14, NO); an abnormal signal is output (S18) and an abnormal status is notified (S19) to end this routine.
  • [Game Execution Process]
  • After the boot process routine shown in FIG. 9, the main CPU 41 of the slot machine 1 executes a game execution process routine shown in FIG. 10. In the game execution process routine, first, the main CPU 41 determines if a coin is bet (A1). In this process, determined is if an input signal is received in response to pressing of the 1-BET button 76 or the maximum BET button 77. It is determined that a coin is not bet (A1, NO), the step A1 is executed again to enter a standby mode until a coin is bet.
  • On the other hand, it is determined that a coin is bet (A1, YES), the number of credits corresponding to the number of coins bet is subtracted from the number of credits stored in the RAM 43 (A2). When the number of coins bet is larger than the number of credits stored in the RAM 43, the process of subtracting the number of credits is not performed, and the step A1 is executed again.
  • Then, it is determined if the spin button 73 is pressed (set to ON) (A3). When it is determined that the spin button 73 is not pressed (not set to ON) (A3, NO), the process returns to the step A1. When the spin button 73 is not pressed (not set to ON) (for example, when an instruction to finish the game is input while the spin button 73 is not pressed (not set to ON)), the result of subtraction in the step A2 is canceled.
  • On the other hand, when it is determined that the spin button 73 is pressed (set to ON) (A3, YES), a symbol determination process is performed (A4). That is, a stop symbol determination program stored in the RAM 43 is executed to determine a symbol matrix.
  • Then, scatter symbols 180 in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 are scroll-displayed (A5). After scatter symbols 180 are scrolled, symbols of the symbol matrix determined in the step A4 are stopped (rearranged) in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155.
  • Then, it is determined if a combination is achieved, i.e., if four or more scatter symbols 180 of a same kind are rearranged (A6). When it is determined that a combination is not achieved (A6, NO), this routine ends. On the other hand, it is determined that a combination is achieved (A6, YES), a payout process is executed (A7). That is, the number of coins to be paid out is calculated according to the number of scatter symbols of a same kind. When a coin to be paid out is reserved, a predetermined number of credits are added to the number of credits stored in the RAM 43. On the other hand, when a coin is paid out, a control signal is transmitted to the hopper 66 to pay out a predetermined number of coins to the coin receiving tray 19.
  • Then, it is determined if a bonus game trigger is achieved (A8). When it is determined that a bonus game trigger is not achieved, (A8, NO), this routine ends. On the other hand, it is determined that a bonus game trigger is achieved (A8, YES), a bonus game process is executed (A9). The bonus game process will be described later. Then, this routine ends.
  • [Bonus Game Process]
  • When it is determined that a bonus game trigger is achieved in the step A8 of FIG. 10, the main CPU 41 of the slot machine 1 executes the bonus game process routine shown in FIG. 11. In the bonus game process routine, first, the main CPU 41 sets a bonus game-number T to “five” (B1). Then, scatter symbols of a same kind are replaced to WILD symbols 181 (B2) After that, each of the WILD symbols 181 is increased by one in each of two column directions (B3), and all the resulting WILD symbols 181 are fixed (B4).
  • Then, it is determined if the spin button 73 is pressed (set to ON) (B5). When it is determined that the spin button 73 is not pressed (not set to ON) (B5, NO), the process returns to the step B5. On the other hand, when it is determined that the spin button 73 is pressed (set to ON) (B5, YES), a symbol determination process is performed (B6). That is, a stop symbol determination program stored in the RAM 43 is executed to determine a symbol matrix.
  • Then, not-fixed scatter symbols 180 are scroll-displayed in the portions, where the WILD symbols 181 fixed are not placed, of the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 (B7). After scatter symbols 180 are scrolled, symbols of the symbol matrix determined in the step B6 are stopped (rearranged) in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155. Meanwhile, in the portions where the WILD symbols 181 are fixed and displayed, the WILD symbols 181 remain displayed.
  • Then, it is determined if a combination is achieved, i.e., if four or more scatter symbols 180 of a same kind are rearranged (B8). It is determined that a combination is achieved (B8, YES), a payout process is executed (B9) That is, the number of coins to be paid out is calculated according to the number of scatter symbols of a same kind. When a coin to be paid out is reserved, a predetermined number of credits are added to the number of credits stored in the RAM 43. On the other hand, when a coin is paid out, a control signal is transmitted to the hopper 66 to pay out a predetermined number of coins to the coin receiving tray 19.
  • When it is determined that a combination is not achieved in the step B8 (B8, NO), or after the step B9, the bonus game-number T is decremented by “one” (B10), and it is determined if the bonus game-number T is “zero” (B11). When it is determined that the bonus game-number is not “zero” (B11, NO), the process returns to the step B5. On the other hand, it is determined that the bonus game-number T is “zero” (B11, YES), this routine ends.
  • As described above, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols 180 of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, these scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to WILD symbols 181. Each of the WILD symbols 181 is increased by one in each of two column directions and then fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed are rearranged. Then, a payout is given according to the number of WILD symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 (including a WILD symbol 181) rearranged. Thus, those WILD symbols 181 increased and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and makes it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • In addition, since the direction in which each WILD symbol 181 increases and the number of increase of each WILD symbol 181 are already determined, the number of WILD symbols 181 fixed will be different depending on a row in which a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged. This makes difference in the possibility of awarding a payout and the amount of payout which may be given, thereby increasing the diversity of a game.
  • Embodiment 2
  • The following describes Embodiment 2 of a slot machine and playing method thereof according to the present invention. Note that reference numerals respectively given to members in the figures referred to in this embodiment, reference symbols (such as “S”) respectively representing steps in flowcharts in the figures, and description using these reference numerals and reference symbols are effective only in this embodiment. Each of these numerals and symbols does not represent a member or step in other embodiments.
  • As shown in FIG. 12, the slot machine executes a playing method including the steps of: rearranging scatter symbols 180 in a matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, of a display; giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged; when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols 181; randomly determining whether to increase the specific symbols 181; when it is determined to increase the specific symbols 181, randomly determining an increase-number of each of the specific symbols to be increased; increasing each of the specific symbols 181 in a column direction by the determined increase-number, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols; rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the specific symbols 181 are fixed; and giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged.
  • In this embodiment, “row” means a symbol row in a horizontal direction of the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, and “column” means a symbol column in a vertical direction of the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155. In addition, “column direction” means a direction in which scatter symbols 180 are scrolled, while “row direction” means a direction perpendicular to the direction in which scatter symbols 180 are scrolled. The matrix of the arrangement areas 151 to 155 is constituted of five columns and three rows.
  • Also in this embodiment, “specific symbol” means a WILD symbol 181. The WILD symbol 181 is an “almighty symbol”, which can be substituted for any of plural kinds of scatter symbols 180. In other words, a WILD symbol 181 may be regarded as a scatter symbol of “HERO”, or as a scatter symbol of “JET”. Note that scatter symbols 180 includes eight kinds of scatter symbols which are “HERO”, “JET”, “VILLA”, “GOLD BAR”, “CAR”, “STOCK CERTIFICATE”, “RIVAL”, and “DIAMOND”; and the WILD symbol 181 which is “WILD”.
  • Meanwhile, in this embodiment, “predetermined number” of “a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind” means the number from “three to five”. That is, when three to five scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, these scatter symbols of the same kind will be transformed into WILD symbols 181. Note that the “predetermined number” of “a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind” is not limited to “three to five”.
  • [Display 101]
  • As shown in FIG. 13, the slot machine which executes the above-described playing method has a display 101, and a controller 100. The display 101 has the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155. In these arrangement areas 151 to 155, more than one kind of scatter symbol 180 is arranged.
  • Here, “arranged” means a state where scatter symbols 180 are visually identifiable by a player. In other words, it represents a state where scatter symbols 180 are displayed in the arrangement areas 151 to 155, as shown in FIG. 14. Meanwhile, “to rearrange” means to arrange scatter symbols 180 again after releasing them.
  • The display 101 may be mechanically structured with a reel device which arranges scatter symbols utilizing the rotation of a reel. Alternatively, the display 101 may have an electrical structure in which scatter symbols are arranged in a video reel displayed as an image. Further, the display 101 may have a structure of a combination of the mechanical structure (reels) and the electrical structure (video reels). The electrical structure may include a liquid crystal display device, a CRT (cathode-ray tube) device, a plasma display device, or the like. The specific structure of the display 101 will be detailed later.
  • [Controller 100]
  • The controller 100 is configured to execute: a first process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 in the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, of the display; a second process of giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged; a third process of, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols 181; a fourth process of randomly determining whether to increase the specific symbols 181; a fifth process of, when it is determined to increase the specific symbols 181, randomly determining an increase-number of each of the specific symbols 181 to be increased; a sixth process of increasing each of the specific symbols 181 in a column direction by the determined increase-number, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols; a seventh process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the specific symbols 181 are fixed; and an eighth process of giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged. In other words, the controller 100 has a first processing unit, a second processing unit, a third processing unit, a fourth processing unit, a fifth processing unit, a sixth processing unit, a seventh processing unit, and an eighth processing unit.
  • The controller 100 has a symbol memory 108 which stores all the scatter symbols 180, and a display symbol memory 107 which stores scatter symbols to be displayed among the scatter symbols 180 stored in the symbol memory 108. The display symbol memory 107 can be accessed by a display control unit 114. In response to a control by a game execution unit 110, the display control unit 114 reads out the scatter symbols in the display symbol memory 107, and displays the scatter symbols on the display 101. A specific display state will be detailed later.
  • The controller 100 has a rearrangement symbol determination unit 106 which determines scatter symbols to be rearranged (hereinafter, rearrangement scatter symbols) every unit game, based on the scatter symbols 180 stored in the symbol memory 108. The rearrangement scatter symbols determined by the rearrangement symbol determination unit 106 are stored in a rearrangement symbol memory 105. Then, the rearrangement scatter symbols are output to the display symbol memory 107. After that, the rearrangement scatter symbols are displayed on the display 101 through image processing performed in the display control unit 114. That is, the controller 100 executes the first process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 in the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, of the display 101.
  • Further, the controller 100 is connected to a game start unit 109. The game start unit 109 has a function of outputting a game start signal in response to an operation by a player. The controller 100 has: the game execution unit 110 which executes a unit game of rearranging scatter symbols 180, triggered by a game start signal from the game start unit 109; a combination payout determination unit 111 which determines a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged in a unit game; and a payout giving unit 113 which gives a payout determined by the combination payout determination unit 111. That is, the controller 100 executes the second process of giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged.
  • Also, the controller 100 has: a specific symbol position determination unit 115; a specific symbol position memory 116; and an increase-number determination unit 117 which randomly determines the numbers by which each of the WILD symbols 181 is increased in two column directions respectively (the number by which each of the WILD symbols 181 is increased includes zero, and will be referred to as “increase-number”). To the specific symbol position determination unit 115 are input: rearrangement scatter symbols which are determined by the rearrangement symbol determination unit 106 and stored in the rearrangement symbol memory 105; and increase-numbers determined by the increase-number determination unit 117.
  • Based on the rearrangement scatter symbols input from the rearrangement symbol memory 105, the specific symbol position determination unit 115 determines if three to five scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180 in a unit game. When the specific symbol position determination unit 115 determines that three to five scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, it determines the positions of the scatter symbols of the same kind as positions of WILD symbols 181. It also determines, as positions of WILD symbols 181, the arrangement areas out of those areas 151 to 155, in which the scatter symbols of the same kind are allowed to increase in the two column directions from the positions thereof, based on the increase-numbers of the two column directions randomly determined by the increase-number determination unit 117.
  • The specific symbol position memory 116 stores therein the positions of WILD symbols 181 determined by the specific symbol position determination unit 115, and outputs the positions of the WILD symbols 181 to the display symbol memory 107 after a unit game is finished. In the display symbol memory 107, the scatter symbols 180 respectively placed in the positions of the WILD symbols 181 are replaced to WILD symbols 181 and stored. Then, the WILD symbols 181 stored in the display symbol memory 107 are used in image processing performed in the display control unit 114. Accordingly, the scatter symbols of the same kind displayed on the display 101 are replaced to WILD symbols 181, and each of the WILD symbols 181 is increased by the determined increase-numbers of the column directions. Then, all the resulting WILD symbols 181 are fixed and displayed. That is, the controller 100 executes: the third process of, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols 181; the fourth process of randomly determining whether to increase the specific symbols 181; a fifth process of, when it is determined to increase the specific symbols 181, randomly determining an increase-number of each of the specific symbols 181 to be increased; and a sixth process of increasing each of the specific symbols 181 in a column direction by the determined increase-number, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols.
  • The game execution unit 110 executes a unit game of rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the WILD symbols 181 are fixed on the display 101. The combination payout determination unit 111 determines a payout according to the number of the WILD symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 (including a WILD symbol 181) rearranged. The payout giving unit 113 gives the payout determined by the combination payout determination unit 111. That is, the controller 100 executes: the seventh process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the specific symbols 181 are fixed; and a eighth process of giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged.
  • Each of the blocks of the controller 100 may be realized in the form of hardware or in the form of software if necessary.
  • [Operation of Controller 100]
  • The following describes an operation of the controller 100 having the above-described structure. First, rearrangement scatter symbols are determined by the rearrangement symbol determination unit 106. The rearrangement scatter symbols determined are stored in the rearrangement symbol memory 105. Then, the rearrangement scatter symbols stored in the rearrangement symbol memory 105 are stored in the display symbol memory 107 and the specific symbol position determination unit 115. Then, the rearrangement scatter symbols stored in the display symbol memory 107 are prepared to be displayed by the display control unit 114 on the display 101. When the game execution unit 110 executes a unit game, scatter symbols 180 are rearranged by having the display 101 display thereon the rearrangement scatter symbols stored in the display symbol memory 107. Thus, the controller 100 executes the first process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 in the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, of the display 101.
  • Then, the combination payout determination unit 111 and the payout giving unit 113 give a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged. Thus, the controller 100 executes the second process of giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged.
  • Meanwhile, the rearrangement scatter symbols stored in the specific symbol position determination unit 115 are used to determine the positions of WILD symbols 181. Specifically, when three to five scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, the positions of these scatter symbols of the same kind are determined as positions of WILD symbols 181. Also, there are determined, as positions of WILD symbols 181, the arrangement areas out of those areas 151 to 155, in which the scatter symbols of the same kind are allowed to increase in the two column directions from the positions thereof, based on the increase-numbers of the two column directions randomly determined by the increase-number determination unit 117. On the other hand, if three to five scatter symbols of a same kind are not rearranged in any row in a row direction, the positions of WILD symbols 181 are not determined. In addition, the positions of WILD symbols 181 are not determined, when the increase-numbers of the two column directions determined by the increase-number determination unit 117 are “zero”.
  • The positions of WILD symbols 181 determined by the specific symbol position determination unit 115 are stored in the specific symbol position memory 116, and are output to the display symbol memory 107 after a unit game is finished. In the display symbol memory 107, the scatter symbols 180 placed in the respective positions of WILD symbols 181 are replaced to WILD symbols 181 and stored. Then, the WILD symbols 181 stored in the display symbol memory 107 are used in image processing performed in the display control unit 114. Accordingly, the scatter symbols of the same kind displayed on the display 101 are replaced to WILD symbols 181, and each of the WILD symbols 181 is increased by the determined increase-numbers. Then, all the resulting WILD symbols 181 are fixed and displayed. Thus, the controller 100 executes: the third process of, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols 181; a fourth process of randomly determining whether to increase the specific symbols 181; a fifth process of, when it is determined to increase the specific symbols 181, randomly determining an increase-number of each of the specific symbols 181 to be increased; and a sixth process of increasing each of the specific symbols 181 in a column direction by the determined increase-number, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols.
  • After that, a unit game is executed by the game execution unit 110, in which not-fixed scatter symbols 180 are rearranged while the WILD symbols 181 are fixed on the display 101. Then, the combination payout determination unit 111 and the payout giving unit 113 give a payout according to the number of WILD symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 (including a WILD symbol 181) rearranged. Thus, the controller 100 executes: the seventh process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the specific symbols 181 are fixed; and the eighth process of giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged.
  • As clearly seen from the above operations, as well as shown in FIG. 12, the slot machine 1 realizes a playing method including: rearranging scatter symbols 180 in the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, of the display 101; giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged; when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols (WILD symbols) 181; randomly determining whether to increase the specific symbols 181; when it is determined to increase the specific symbols 181, randomly determining an increase-number of each of the specific symbols 181 to be increased; increasing each of the specific symbols 181 in a column direction by the determined increase-number, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols; rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the specific symbols 181 are fixed; and giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged.
  • According to the above-described playing method, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols 180 of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, the scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to specific symbols (WILD symbols) 181, and it is randomly determined whether to increase the specific symbols 181. Then, when it is determined to increase the specific symbols, an increase-number is randomly determined. Each of the specific symbols 181 is increased in a column direction by the determined increase-number and fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed are rearranged. Then, a payout is given according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged. Thus, when it is determined to increase the specific symbols 181, the resulting specific symbols 181 increased and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and makes it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • [Display State]
  • Specifically described hereinafter is an exemplary display state of the display 101 in the slot machine 1 and in the operation process of the playing method thereof. The following description deals with a case where scatter symbols are arranged on the display 101 of a video reel-type, as shown in FIG. 14.
  • The display 101 has arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 in which scatter symbols 180 are arranged. In the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, symbol columns having more than one scatter symbol 180 is scroll-displayed, respectively. Each of the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 is divided into an upper row 151 a, a middle row 151 b, and a lower row 151 c. Scatter symbols 180 are stopped (arranged) in the rows 151 a, 151 b, and 151 c of the respective arrangement areas. For example, in FIG. 14, “GOLD BAR” is stopped in the upper row 151 a of the arrangement area 151, “HERO” is stopped in the middle row 151 b of the arrangement area 151, and “JET” is stopped in the lower row 151 c of the arrangement area 151. Thus, the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 display a symbol matrix of five columns and three rows. Note that the symbol matrix is not limited to a matrix of five columns and three rows.
  • This embodiment deals with a case where a process of paying out a coin or the like is performed when a predetermined number (e.g., four) or more scatter symbols of a same kind are displayed in the symbol matrix. However, it is possible to employ such a configuration that, for example, a payline L is provided so as to cross the middle row 151 b of the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, and when scatter symbols stopped on the payline L correspond to a predetermined combination, a coin is paid out.
  • As shown in FIG. 14, when a predetermined number (three to five) of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, a bonus game is triggered. As a result, the scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to WILD symbols 181. In FIG. 14, three scatter symbols 180 of a same kind (“HERO”) are rearranged in the middle row 151 b of the arrangement areas 151, 152, and 153. Therefore, these three scatter symbols 180 are replaced to WILD symbols 181.
  • When a bonus game is triggered, it is randomly determined whether to increase the WILD symbols 181 replaced from the scatter symbols 180 of the same kind. Further, when it is determined to increase the WILD symbols 181, an increase-number of each of the WILD symbols 181 to be increased is randomly determined. In the state of FIG. 14 where three scatter symbols 180 of a same kind (“HERO”) are rearranged in the middle row 151 b of the arrangement areas 151, 152, and 153, when it is determined to increase each of the WILD symbols 181 by one or two in the upward column direction and by zero in the downward column direction, each of the WILD symbols 181 is increased in the upper row 151 a of the arrangement areas 151, 152, and 153, and then fixed, as shown in FIG. 15. In a bonus game, scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed are rearranged while the WILD symbols 181 are fixed. Then, a payout is given according to the number of WILD symbols 181 fixed and the number of each kind of scatter symbols 180 (including a WILD symbol 181) rearranged.
  • In the case shown in FIG. 15, a payout which may be given in a bonus game is: a payout corresponding to six WILD symbols 181; a payout corresponding to seven or more WILD symbols 181, or a payout corresponding to six WILD symbols 181 and one or more scatter symbols 180 (other than a WILD symbol) of a same kind, for example.
  • As shown in FIG. 16, when scatter symbols 180 of a same kind (“HERO”) are rearranged in the upper row 151 a of the arrangement areas 151, 152, and 154 respectively, and it is determined to increase each of the WILD symbols 181 by zero to two in the upward column direction and by one in the downward column direction, the WILD symbols 181 are increased only in the middle row 151 b of the arrangement areas 151, 152, and 154 and then fixed, since the WILD symbols 181 are not allowed to increase in further upper areas from the upper row 151 a of the arrangement areas 151, 152, and 154.
  • In the case shown in FIG. 16, a payout which may be given in a bonus game is: a payout corresponding to six WILD symbols 181; a payout corresponding to seven or more WILD symbols 181; or a payout corresponding to six WILD symbols 181 and one or more scatter symbols 180 (other than a WILD symbol) of a same kind, for example.
  • Meanwhile, each of the WILD symbols 181 is not increased when it is determined to increase each of the WILD symbols 181 by zero in the upward column direction, and by zero in the downward column direction, that is, when it is determined not to increase each of the WILD symbols 181 in the column directions. In this case, a payout which may be given in a bonus game is: a payout corresponding to four or more WILD symbols 181, or a payout corresponding three or more WILD symbols 181 and one or more scatter symbols 180 (other than a WILD symbol) of a same kind, for example.
  • [Scatter Symbols]
  • As shown in FIG. 17, scatter symbols 180 displayed in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 of the display 101 constitute symbol columns, each symbol column having twenty-two scatter symbols. Each symbol of each symbol column has a code number, any one of numbers from 0 to 21. Each symbol column is constituted of a combination of scatter symbols of “HERO”, “JET”, “VILLA”, “GOLD BAR”, “CAR”, “STOCK CERTIFICATE”, “RIVAL”, “DIAMOND”, and “WILD”.
  • Successive three scatter symbols of each symbol column are displayed (arranged) respectively in the upper row 151 a, the middle row 151 b, and the lower row 151 c of each of the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, thereby constituting a symbol matrix of five columns and three rows. When a later-mentioned BET button and a spin button are sequentially pressed in this order to start a game, scatter symbols constituting a symbol matrix start to scroll. After the symbols are scrolled for a predetermined period of time, the scrolling of symbols stops (symbols are rearranged).
  • When a predetermined number or more scatter symbols of a same kind are displayed in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, a player gets an advantage. To get an advantage means that coins are paid out according to scatter symbols displayed, the value of coins to be paid out is added to a credit value, a bonus game is started, or the like.
  • Specifically, when four or more scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, twenty coins (game media) are paid out for one bet. When a predetermined number (three to five) of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, a bonus game is triggered. This causes a transition of gaming state from a basic game to a bonus game.
  • Here, a bonus game is a gaming state which provides a larger advantage than a basic game. In this embodiment, the bonus game is a free game. The free game is a game which allows a player to play a unit game a predetermined number of times (in this embodiment, five times) without betting a coin. Note that another bonus game may be employed in combination, provided that the other bonus game is advantageous to a player, i.e., the other bonus game is more advantageous than a basic game. For example, that other bonus game which may be employed is a game providing: a state where a larger amount of game media can be obtained than in a basic game; a state where game media can be obtained more likely than in a basic game; or a state where a smaller amount of game media are consumed than in a basic game.
  • [Mechanical Structure of the Slot Machine 1]
  • Next, the following describes a specific example of mechanical and electrical structures of the slot machine 1 thus structured.
  • As shown in FIG. 18, the slot machine 1 is an upright slot machine and has a cabinet 3 for housing electrical or mechanical components for executing a predetermined game mode. As a display unit 4 for displaying game information in response to a player's game operation, there may be provided an upper variable display unit 4A, a middle variable display unit 4B, and a lower variable display unit 4C. The display units 4A to 4C are attached to the front face of the cabinet 3 having a longer length in the vertical direction.
  • The upper variable display unit 4A has a transparent upper liquid crystal panel 5A fixed to a front door of the cabinet 3. The upper liquid crystal panel 5A displays thereon an image showing, for example, an effect image, an introduction of a game, or rules of the game.
  • The middle variable display unit 4B is a display panel for rotating symbols, which is to be constantly viewed by a player. The middle variable display unit 4B has a transparent center liquid crystal panel 5B fixed to the front door of the cabinet 3. On the center liquid crystal panel 5B, five arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 are displayed. Further, on the center liquid crystal panel 5B, an effect of moving images is performed at a time of winning or the like. Further, in an upper portion of the center liquid crystal panel 5B, a payout number indicator 8 and a credit number indicator 9 are displayed.
  • The lower variable display unit 4C has a lower liquid crystal panel 5C which displays the number of points stored in a card or the number of points of a game. Such a number is displayed on the lower liquid crystal panel 5C based on a result displayed on the middle variable display unit 4B. When a winning combination is achieved in the middle variable display unit 4B, the number of points of the game displayed on the lower liquid crystal panel 5C is increased according to the type of the winning achieved. On the left of the lower liquid crystal panel 5C, a ticket printer 14 is provided. On the right of the lower liquid crystal panel 5C, a card reader 15 is provided. Note that winning means an occasion where four or more scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged, awarding various payouts according to the result.
  • Below the lower variable display unit 4C is disposed an operation table 10 which protrudes forward from the front face of the cabinet 3. On the operation table 10, there are arranged operation buttons 11 (e.g., a spin button 73, change button 74, cash-out button 75, 1-BET button 76, maximum BET button 77, or the like) serving as a control panel which enables a player to perform a game-related operation. In addition, the operation table 10 is provided with a coin insertion slot 12 and a bill insertion slot 13.
  • Below the operation table 10, a waist-high panel 17 is disposed. The waist-high panel 17 is a plastic panel having a game-related image printed thereon. This waist-high panel 17 is fixed to a lower front door 18 and illuminated by a cold cathode tube. Further, below the waist-high panel 17 is disposed a coin receiving tray 19 for storing a coin paid out based on a game result.
  • Further, lamps 30 are disposed on the cabinet 3 of the slot machine 1 so as to surround game areas including the upper variable display unit 4A, the middle variable display unit 4B, the lower variable display unit 4C, and the operation table 10. The lamps 30 include side lamps 22, speaker lamps 24, under lamps 25, and top lamps 26. The side lamps 22 are provided on inclined parts 21 provided at the front right and front left of the cabinet 3, each of which parts protruding in a bow shape so as to extend over the upper variable display unit 4A, the middle variable display unit 4B and the lower variable display unit 4C. The speaker lamps 24 are provided on arc-shaped speakers 23 which protrudes sideways at the right and a left ends of the cabinet 3 adjacent to the operation table 10. The speaker lamps 24 are arranged along edges of the speakers 23. The under lamps 25 are provided on the lower front door 18 and arranged along a lower edge of the waist-high panel 17. The top lamps 26 are provided above the upper variable display unit 4A. The top lamps include power lamps 26 a disposed at both sides respectively and band-type lamps 26 b arranged in a horizontal direction between the power lamps.
  • [Electrical Structure of the Slot Machine 1]
  • Inside the cabinet 3 is provided a control unit including the controller 100 of FIG. 13. As shown in FIG. 19, the control unit includes components such as a motherboard 40, a main body PCB (Printed Circuit Board) 60, a gaming board 50, a sub CPU 61, a door PCB 80, various switches, and a sensor.
  • The gaming board 50 is provided with a CPU (Central Processing Unit) 51, a ROM 55 and a boot ROM 52, a card slot 53S for a memory card 53, and an IC socket 54S for a GAL (Generic Array Logic) 54, which are connected to one another through an internal bus.
  • The memory card 53 stores therein a game program and a game system program. The game program contains a program to determine symbols to be stopped (hereinafter “stop symbol determination program”). The stop symbol determination program is a program for determining a symbol matrix of five columns and three rows. This stop symbol determination program contains sets of symbol weighting data respectively correspond to several kinds of payout rates (e.g., 80%, 84%, and 88%). Each set of symbol weighting data indicates, for each of the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, a relation between a code number of each symbol and at least one random number values. The random number value is a value within a predetermined range of 0 to 256 for example.
  • A payout rate is set based on payout rate setting data output from the GAL 54. Rearrangement symbols are determined based on a set of symbol weighting data corresponding to the payout rate set.
  • The memory card 53 stores therein various types of data for use in the game program and game system program. Specifically, the memory card 53 stores, in the form of table, data indicating relations between scatter symbols 180 displayed in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 of FIG. 14 and a range of random number values. This data is transferred to a RAM 43 of the motherboard 40, at a time of execution of the game program.
  • The card slot 53S is structured so that the memory card 53 is inserted/removed thereto/therefrom. This card slot 53S is connected to the motherboard 40 via an IDE bus. Thus, the type and content of a game run by the slot machine 1 can be modified by removing the memory card 53 from the card slot 53S, writing a different game program and game system program into the memory card 53, and inserting the memory card 53 back to the card slot 53S.
  • The game program includes a program related to the progress of a game and/or a program for causing a transition to a bonus game. Also, the game program includes image data and audio data output during a game.
  • The GAL 54 has input ports and output ports. Upon the input of data to an input port, the GAL 54 outputs data corresponding to the input data from an output port. This data output from the output port is the before-mentioned payout rate setting data.
  • The IC socket 54S is structured so that the GAL 54 is attached/detached thereto/therefrom. The IC socket 54S is connected to the motherboard 40 via a PCI bus. Thus, the payout rate setting data to be output from the GAL 54 can be modified by detaching GAL 54 from the IC socket 54S, overwriting a program stored in the GAL 45, and attaching the GAL45 back to the IC socket 54S.
  • The CPU 51, the ROM 55, and the boot ROM 52, which are connected to one another via the internal bus, are connected to the motherboard 40 via the PCI bus. The PCI bus communicates a signal between the motherboard 40 and the gaming board 50, and supplies power from the motherboard 40 to the gaming board 50. The ROM 55 stores therein country identification information and an authentication program. The boot ROM 52 stores therein a preliminary authentication program, a program (boot code) for enabling the CPU 51 to run the preliminary authentication program, or the like.
  • The authentication program is a program (falsification check program) for authenticating the game program and the game system program. The authentication program is a program for confirming and verifying that the game program and the game system program are not falsified. In other words, the authentication program is described in accordance with a procedure for authenticating the game program and the game system program. The preliminary authentication program is a program for authenticating the authentication program. The preliminary authentication program is described in accordance with a procedure for verifying that the authentication program to be authenticated is not falsified. In short, the preliminary authentication program authenticates the authentication program.
  • The motherboard 40 is provided with a main CPU 41 (controller), a ROM (Read Only Memory) 42, the RAM (Random Access Memory) 43, and a communications interface 44.
  • The main CPU 41 serves as a controller that controls the overall slot machine 1. Specifically, the main CPU 41 performs the controls of: outputting a command signal, upon pressing the spin button 73 after a bet of credit, to the sub CPU 61 so as to scroll-display scatter symbols on the center liquid crystal panel 5B; determining symbols to be stopped after the scroll-display of symbols; and stopping the determined symbols in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155.
  • That is, the main CPU 41 functions as an arrangement controller to execute an arrangement control by which, among various kinds of scatter symbols, symbols to be arranged in a symbol matrix are selected and determined, and then scrolling of the symbols is stopped so that the determined symbol matrix appears. With this function, scatter symbols displayed while being scrolled on the center liquid crystal panel 5B are rearranged in a new symbol matrix.
  • The main CPU 41 also functions as a controller 100 which executes: a first process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 in the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, of the display 101 (center liquid crystal panel 5B); a second process of giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged; a third process of, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols (WILD symbols) 181; a fourth process of randomly determining whether to increase the specific symbols 181; a fifth process of, when it is determined to increase the specific symbols 181, randomly determining an increase-number of each of the specific symbols 181 to be increased; a sixth process of increasing each of the specific symbols 181 in a column direction by the determined increase-number, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols; a seventh process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the specific symbols 181 are fixed; and an eighth process of giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 (including a WILD symbol 181) rearranged.
  • The ROM 42 stores a program such as BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) run by the main CPU 41, and data that is permanently used. When the BIOS is run by the main CPU 41, each of peripheral devices is initialized and the game program and the game system program stored in the memory card 53 are read out through the gaming board 50.
  • The RAM 43 stores data or program used for the main CPU 41 to perform a process. For example, in the RAM 43 are formed: the symbol memory 108, the display symbol memory 107, the rearrangement symbol memory 105, and the specific symbol position memory 116, which are shown in FIG. 13, in the forms of data areas, respectively. In the data area of the symbol memory 108, scatter symbols 180 are stored in the form of a data table of FIG. 17. In the data area of the rearrangement symbol memory 105, rearrangement symbols are stored. In the data area of the specific symbol position memory 116, positions of WILD symbols 181 are stored. In the data area of the display symbol memory 107, a symbol matrix including WILD symbols 181 fixed are stored.
  • The communications interface 44 communicates via a communication line with a host computer or the like provided in a game arcade. The motherboard 40 is connected to the main body PCB (Printed Circuit Board) 60 and the door PCB 80 through USBs (Universal Serial Buses). Further, the motherboard 40 is connected to a power unit 45. The power unit 45 supplies power to the motherboard 40 to boot the main CPU 41 thereof. Meanwhile, the power unit 45 supplies power to the gaming board 50 through the PCI bus to boot the CPU 51.
  • The main body PCB 60 and the door PCB 80 are connected to: a device or apparatus which generates an input signal to be input to the main CPU 41; and a device or apparatus controlled by a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The main CPU 41 runs the game program and the game system program stored in the RAM 43 based on the input signal input to the main CPU 41, to carry out an arithmetic process, thereby storing a result thereof in the RAM 43 or transmitting a control signal to each device or apparatus to control them.
  • The main body PCB 60 is connected to the lamps 30 (to be more specific, the side lamps 22, the speaker lamps 24, the under lamps 25, and the top lamps 26), the sub CPU 61, a hopper 66, a coin detecting unit 67, a graphic board 68, the speakers 23, a bill validator 62, the ticket printer 14, the card reader 15, and a key switch 38S.
  • The lamps 30 are turned on/off based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The sub CPU 61 controls an operation of scrolling symbols in the arrangement areas 151 to 155, and is connected to a later-mentioned VDP (Video Display Processor). The VDP reads out image data of symbols stored in an image data ROM (not shown), and then generates an image of scrolling symbols to be displayed in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 to output the image to the center liquid crystal panel 5B.
  • The hopper 66 is provided in the cabinet 3, and pays out a predetermined number of coins from a coin payout opening to the coin receiving tray 19 based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The coin detecting unit 67 is provided inside the coin payout opening, and outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 when detecting that a predetermined number of coins are paid out from the coin payout opening.
  • The graphic board 68 controls image displaying of the upper liquid crystal panel 5A, the center liquid crystal panel 5B, and the lower liquid crystal panel 5C, based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The graphic board 68 is provided with a VDP which generates image data based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41, a video RAM which temporarily stores image data generated by the VDP, and the like.
  • The bill validator 62 reads an image on a bill inserted to the bill insertion slot 13 and accepts a genuine bill into the cabinet 3. When accepting a genuine bill, the bill validator 62 outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 corresponding to the amount of the bill. The main CPU 41 stores in the RAM 43 the number of credits corresponding to the amount of the bill transmitted by the input signal.
  • Based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41, the ticket printer 14 prints a bar code on a ticket, and then outputs the ticket with a bar code. Data such as the number of credits stored in the RAM 43, time and date, identification number of a slot machine 1, or the like is encoded to the bar code.
  • The card reader 15 reads data from a smart card to transmit them to the main CPU 41, or write data to a smart card based on a control signal from the main CPU 41. The key switch 38S is mounted on a keypad (not shown), and outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 in response to an operation of the keypad by a player.
  • The door PCB 80 is connected to a control panel 70, a reverter 71S, a coin counter 71C, and a cold cathode tube 81. The control panel 70 is provided with: a spin switch 73S corresponding to the spin button 73, a change switch 74S corresponding to the change button 74, a cash-out switch 75S corresponding to the cash-out button 75, a 1-BET switch 76S corresponding to the 1-BET button 76, and a maximum BET switch 77S corresponding to the maximum BET button 77. The switches 73S to 77S output input signals to the main CPU 41 upon operations of the corresponding buttons 73 to 77 by a player, respectively.
  • The coin counter 71C is provided inside the coin insertion slot 12, and validates whether a coin inserted by a player into the coin insertion slot 12 is genuine. Anything other than a genuine coin is discharged to the coin receiving tray 19. The coin counter 71C outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 when detecting a genuine coin.
  • The reverter 71S is operated based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The reverter 71S distributes a coin that is recognized as genuine by the coin counter 71C to a cash box (not shown) or the hopper 66 mounted in the slot machine 1. In other words, when the hopper 66 is filled with coins, the reverter 71S distributes a genuine coin to the cash box. On the other hand, when the hopper 66 is not filled with coins, a genuine coin is distributed to the hopper 66. The cold cathode tube 81 functions as a backlight mounted to the rear sides of the upper liquid crystal panel 5A and the center liquid crystal panel 5B. The cold cathode tube 81 is turned on based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41.
  • [Increase-Number Determination Table]
  • The following describes an increase-number determination table used for determining whether to increase the WILD symbols 181 and for determining an increase-number of each of the WILD symbols 181 to be increased. These determination processes are carried out when a predetermined number (three to five) of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction thereby triggering a bonus game. This increase-number determination table is stored in the ROM 42 of the motherboard 40.
  • As shown in FIG. 20, in the increase-number determination table, pattern numbers from “1” to “9” are associated with respective increase-numbers in the upward column direction and respective increase-numbers in the downward column direction. For example, the pattern number “1” is associated with an upward increase-number of “0” and a downward increase-number of “0”. The pattern number “4” is associated with an upward increase-number of “1” and a downward increase-number of “1”. A pattern number randomly determined among the pattern numbers “1” to “9” determines whether to increase the WILD symbols 181 and an increase-number of each of the WILD symbols 181 to be increased.
  • [Process Operation of the Slot Machine 1]
  • Next, the process operation of the slot machine 1 will be described.
  • [Boot Process]
  • First, the main CPU 41 of the slot machine 1 executes a boot process routine shown in FIG. 21. This boot process routine is performed by the motherboard 40 and the gaming board 50. The memory card 53 is assumed to be inserted into the card slot 53S of the gaming board 50, and the GAL 54 is assumed to be attached to the IC socket 54S.
  • First, turning on a power switch of (powering on) the power unit 45 boots the motherboard 40 and the gaming board 50. Booting the motherboard 40 and the gaming board 50 starts separate processes in parallel. That is, in the gaming board 50, the CPU 51 reads out the preliminary authentication program stored in the boot ROM 52, and according to the preliminary authentication program read out, the CPU 51 performs the preliminary authentication to confirm and verify that the authentication program is not falsified, before reading that program in the motherboard 40 (S101).
  • On the other hand, in the motherboard 40, the main CPU 41 runs the BIOS stored in the ROM 42, to load into the RAM 43 compressed data built in the BIOS (S1). Then, the main CPU 41 runs a procedure of the BIOS according to the data loaded into the RAM 43 so as to diagnose and initialize various peripheral devices (S2).
  • The main CPU 41, which is connected to the ROM 55 of the gaming board 50 via the PCI bus, reads out the authentication program stored in the ROM 55, and stores it in the RAM 43 (S3). During this step, the main CPU 41 derives a checksum through ADDSUM method (a standard check function) which is adopted in a standard BIOS, and stores the authentication program in the RAM 43 while confirming if the operation of storing is carried out without an error.
  • Next, the main CPU 41 checks what is connected via the IDE bus. Then, the main CPU 41 accesses via the IDE bus to the memory card 53 inserted into the card slot 53S to read out the game program and the game system program from the memory card 53. In this case, the main CPU 41 reads out four bytes of data constituting the game program and the game system program at one time. Subsequently, according to the authentication program stored in the RAM 43, the main CPU 41 performs an authentication to confirm and verify that the game program and game system program read out are not falsified (S4). When this authentication process is properly finished, the main CPU 41 writes and store in the RAM 43 the game program and game system program which were the subjects of the authentication (authenticated) (S5).
  • Then, the main CPU 41 accesses, via the PCI bus, the GAL 54 attached to the IC socket 54S, and reads out the payout rate setting data from the GAL 54, which data is written to and stored in the RAM 43 (S6). Next, the main CPU 41 reads out, via the PCI bus, the country identification information stored in the ROM 55 of the gaming board 50. The country identification information read out is stored in the RAM 43 (S7).
  • Then, the main CPU 41 determines if the writing to the RAM 43 is normally performed (S8). When it is determined that the writing to the RAM 43 is normally performed (S8, YES), the sensor is checked (S9). Then, it is determined if the sensor is normal (S10). When it is determined that the sensor is normal (S10, YES), the operation of a drive mechanism is checked (S11). Then, it is determined if the operation of the drive mechanism is normal (S12). When it is determined that the operation of the drive mechanism is normal (S12, YES), the operation of illuminations (the lamps 30 or the like) is checked (S13). Then, it is determined if the operation of illuminations is normal (S14). When it is determined that the operation of the illuminations is normal (S14, YES), a boot signal is output (S15), the game program and game system program are read out from the RAM 43 (S16), a game execution process is executed (S17), and this routine ends.
  • In the cases where: it is determined that the writing to the RAM 43 is not normally performed in the step S8 (S8, NO); it is determined that the sensor is not normal in the step S10 (S10, NO); it is determined that the operation of the drive mechanism is not normal in the step S12 (S12, NO); or it is determined that the operation of the illuminations is not normal in the step S14 (S14, NO); an abnormal signal is output (S18) and an abnormal status is notified (S19) to end this routine.
  • [Game Execution Process]
  • After the boot process routine shown in FIG. 21, the main CPU 41 of the slot machine 1 executes a game execution process routine shown in FIG. 22. In the game execution process routine, first, the main CPU 41 determines if a coin is bet (A1). In this process, determined is if an input signal is received in response to pressing of the 1-BET button 76 or the maximum BET button 77. When it is determined that a coin is not bet (A1, NO), the step A1 is executed again to enter a standby mode until a coin is bet.
  • On the other hand, when it is determined that a coin is bet (A1, YES), the number of credits corresponding to the number of coins bet is subtracted from the number of credits stored in the RAM 43 (A2). When the number of coins bet is larger than the number of credits stored in the RAM 43, the process of subtracting the number of credits is not performed, and the step A1 is executed again.
  • Then, it is determined if the spin button 73 is pressed (set to ON) (A3). When it is determined that the spin button 73 is not pressed (not set to ON) (A3, NO), the process returns to the step A1. When the spin button 73 is not pressed (not set to ON) (for example, when an instruction to finish the game is input while the spin button 73 is not pressed (not set to ON)), the result of subtraction in the step A2 is canceled.
  • On the other hand, when it is determined that the spin button 73 is pressed (set to ON) (A3, YES), a symbol determination process is performed (A4). That is, a stop symbol determination program stored in the RAM 43 is executed to determine a symbol matrix.
  • Then, scatter symbols 180 in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 are scroll-displayed (A5). After scatter symbols 180 are scrolled, symbols of the symbol matrix determined in the step A4 are stopped (rearranged) in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155.
  • Then, it is determined if a combination is achieved, i.e., if four or more scatter symbols 180 of a same kind are rearranged (A6). When it is determined that a combination is not achieved (A6, NO), this routine ends. On the other hand, when it is determined that a combination is achieved (A6, YES), a payout process is executed (A7). That is, the number of coins to be paid out is calculated according to the number of scatter symbols of a same kind. When a coin to be paid out is reserved, a predetermined number of credits are added to the number of credits stored in the RAM 43. On the other hand, when a coin is paid out, a control signal is transmitted to the hopper 66 to pay out a predetermined number of coins to the coin receiving tray 19.
  • Then, it is determined if a bonus game trigger is achieved (A8). When it is determined that a bonus game trigger is not achieved, (A8, NO), this routine ends. On the other hand, when it is determined that a bonus game trigger is achieved (A8, YES), a bonus game process is executed (A9). The bonus game process will be described later. Then, this routine ends.
  • [Bonus Game Process]
  • When it is determined that a bonus game trigger is achieved in the step A8 of FIG. 22, the main CPU 41 of the slot machine 1 executes the bonus game process routine shown in FIG. 23. In the bonus game process routine, first, the main CPU 41 sets a bonus game-number T to “five” (B1). Then, scatter symbols of a same kind are replaced to WILD symbols 181 (B2). After that, using the increase-number determination table shown in FIG. 20, it is determined whether to increase the WILD symbols 181, and the increase-number of each of the WILD symbols 181 (B3). Then, determined is the presence or absence of a WILD symbol 181 to be increased (B4). When it is determined that a WILD symbol 181 to be increased is present (B4, YES), each of the WILD symbols 181 is increased in a column direction by the determined increase-number (B5). When it is determined that a WILD symbol 181 to be increased is not present in the step B4 (B4, NO), or after the step B5, all the WILD symbols 181 are fixed (B6).
  • Then, it is determined if the spin button 73 is pressed (set to ON) (B7). When it is determined that the spin button 73 is not pressed (not set to ON) (B7, NO), the process returns to the step B7. On the other hand, when it is determined that the spin button 73 is pressed (set to ON) (B7, YES), a symbol determination process is performed (B8). That is, a stop symbol determination program stored in the RAM 43 is executed to determine a symbol matrix.
  • Then, not-fixed scatter symbols 180 are scroll-displayed in the portions, where the WILD symbols 181 fixed are not placed, of the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 (B9). After scatter symbols 180 are scrolled, symbols of the symbol matrix determined in the step B8 are stopped (rearranged) in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155. Meanwhile, in the portions where the WILD symbols 181 are fixed and displayed, the WILD symbols 181 remain displayed.
  • Then, it is determined if a combination is achieved, i.e., if four or more scatter symbols 180 of a same kind are rearranged (B10). When It is determined that a combination is achieved (B10, YES), a payout process is executed (B11). That is, the number of coins to be paid out is calculated according to the number of scatter symbols of a same kind. When a coin to be paid out is reserved, a predetermined number of credits are added to the number of credits stored in the RAM 43. On the other hand, when a coin is paid out, a control signal is transmitted to the hopper 66 to pay out a predetermined number of coins to the coin receiving tray 19.
  • When it is determined that a combination is not achieved in the step B10 (B10, NO), or after the step B11, the bonus game-number T is decremented by “one” (B12), and it is determined if the bonus game-number T is “zero” (B13). When it is determined that the bonus game-number is not “zero” (B13, NO), the process returns to the step B7. On the other hand, when it is determined that the bonus game-number T is “zero” (B13, YES), this routine ends.
  • As described above, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols 180 of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, the scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to specific symbols (WILD symbols) 181, and it is randomly determined whether to increase the specific symbols 181. Then, when it is determined to increase the specific symbols 181, an increase-number is randomly determined. Each of the specific symbols 181 is increased in a column direction by the determined increase-number and fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed are rearranged. Then, a payout is given according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged. Thus, when it is determined to increase the specific symbols 181, the resulting specific symbols 181 increased and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and makes it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • Embodiment 3
  • The following describes Embodiment 3 of a slot machine and playing method thereof according to the present invention. Note that reference numerals respectively given to members in the figures referred to in this embodiment, reference symbols (such as “S”) respectively representing steps in flowcharts in the figures, and description using these reference numerals and reference symbols are effective only in this embodiment. Each of these numerals and symbols does not represent a member or step in other embodiments.
  • As shown in FIG. 24, a slot machine executes a playing method including the steps of: defining one or more active regions corresponding to a bet operation received by an input device in a matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, of a display; rearranging scatter symbols 180 in the arrangement areas 151 to 155; giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged; when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row having an active region as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols 181; increasing the specific symbols 181 in all of the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols 181 respectively, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols; rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the specific symbols 181 are fixed; and giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged.
  • In this embodiment, “bet operation” includes: a one-bet operation through which one-bet is made designating regions of one payline L1 as active regions; and a maximum-bet operation through which a maximum-bet is made designating regions of all (three) paylines L1, L2, and L3 as active regions.
  • In addition, “row” means a symbol row in a horizontal direction of the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, and “column” means a symbol column in a vertical direction of the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155. In addition, “column direction” means a direction in which scatter symbols 180 are scrolled, while “row direction” means a direction perpendicular to the direction in which scatter symbols 180 are scrolled. The matrix of the arrangement areas 151 to 155 is constituted of five columns and three rows.
  • Also in this embodiment, “specific symbol” means a WILD symbol 181. The WILD symbol 181 is an “almighty symbol”, which can be substituted for any of plural kinds of scatter symbols 180. In other words, a WILD symbol 181 may be regarded as a scatter symbol of “HERO”, or as a scatter symbol of “JET”. Note that scatter symbols 180 includes eight kinds of scatter symbols which are “HERO”, “JET”, “VILLA”, “GOLD BAR”, “CAR”, “STOCK CERTIFICATE”, “RIVAL”, and “DIAMOND”; and the WILD symbol 181 which is “WILD”.
  • Meanwhile, in this embodiment, “predetermined number” of “a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind” means the number from “three to five”. That is, when three to five scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction, these scatter symbols of the same kind will be transformed into WILD symbols 181. Note that the “predetermined number” of “a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind” is not limited to “three to five”.
  • [Display 101]
  • As shown in FIG. 25, the slot machine which executes the above-described playing method has a display 101, an input device 102, and a controller 100. The display 101 has the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155. In these arrangement areas 151 to 155, more than one kind of scatter symbol 180 is arranged.
  • Here, “arranged” means a state where scatter symbols 180 are visually identifiable by a player. In other words, it represents a state where scatter symbols 180 are displayed in the arrangement areas 151 to 155, as shown in FIG. 26. Meanwhile, “to rearrange” means to arrange scatter symbols 180 again after releasing them.
  • The display 101 may be mechanically structured with a reel device which arranges scatter symbols utilizing the rotation of a reel. Alternatively, the display 101 may have an electrical structure in which scatter symbols are arranged in a video reel displayed as an image. Further, the display 101 may have a structure of a combination of the mechanical structure (reels) and the electrical structure (video reels). The electrical structure may include a liquid crystal display device, a CRT (cathode-ray tube) device, a plasma display device, or the like. The specific structure of the display 101 will be detailed later.
  • [Input Device 102]
  • The input device 102 is configured to receive a one-bet operation and a maximum-bet operation from outside. The input device 102 may be structured with buttons such as later-mentioned 1-bet button 76, and maximum-bet button 77, or may be structured with a touch panel or the like.
  • [Controller 100]
  • A controller 100 is configured to execute: a first process of defining active regions (regions of paylines L1, L2, and L3) corresponding to a bet operation received by the input device 102 in the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, of the display 101; a second process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 in the arrangement areas 151 to 155; a third process of giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged; a fourth process of, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row having an active region as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols 181; a fifth process of increasing the specific symbols 181 in all of the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols 181 respectively, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols; a sixth process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the specific symbols 181 are fixed; and a seventh process of giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged. In other words, the controller 100 has a first processing unit, a second processing unit, a third processing unit, a fourth processing unit, a fifth processing unit, a sixth processing unit, and a seventh processing unit.
  • The controller 100 has a symbol memory 108 which stores all the scatter symbols 180, and a display symbol memory 107 which stores scatter symbols to be displayed among the scatter symbols 180 stored in the symbol memory 108. The display symbol memory 107 can be accessed by a display control unit 114. In response to a control by a game execution unit 110, the display control unit 114 reads out the scatter symbols in the display symbol memory 107, and displays the scatter symbols on the display 101. A specific display state will be detailed later.
  • Also, the controller 100 has an active region defining unit 117 which defines one or more active regions corresponding to a bet operation received by the input device 102, in the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155 constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, of the display 101. The active regions defined by the active region defining unit 117 are displayed in the forms of paylines L1, L2, and L3 on the display 101 through image processing performed in the display control unit 114. That is, the controller 100 executes the first process of: defining active regions (regions of paylines L1, L2, and L3) corresponding to a bet operation received by the input device 102 in the arrangement areas 151 to 155. Note that, the structure of active regions is not limited to the form of a payline. Such a structure is possible that the active regions defined through the one-bet operation are four cells constituted of two columns and two rows, and the active regions defined through the maximum-bet operation are fifteen cells constituted of five columns and three rows.
  • The controller 100 has a rearrangement symbol determination unit 106 which determines scatter symbols to be rearranged (hereinafter, rearrangement scatter symbols) every unit game, based on the scatter symbols 180 stored in the symbol memory 108. The rearrangement scatter symbols determined by the rearrangement symbol determination unit 106 are stored in a rearrangement symbol memory 105. Then, the rearrangement scatter symbols are output to the display symbol memory 107. After that, the rearrangement scatter symbols are displayed on the display 101 through image processing performed in the display control unit 114. That is, the controller 100 executes the second process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 in the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, of the display 101.
  • Further, the controller 100 is connected to a game start unit 109. The game start unit 109 has a function of outputting a game start signal in response to an operation by a player. The controller 100 has: the game execution unit 110 which executes a unit game of rearranging scatter symbols 180, triggered by a game start signal from the game start unit 109; a combination payout determination unit 111 which determines a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged in a unit game; and a payout giving unit 113 which gives a payout determined by the combination payout determination unit 111. That is, the controller 100 executes the third process of giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged.
  • Also, the controller 100 has: a specific symbol position determination unit 115, and a specific symbol position memory 116. To the specific symbol position determination unit 115 are input: rearrangement scatter symbols which are determined by the rearrangement symbol determination unit 106 and stored in the rearrangement symbol memory 105; and the active regions defined by the active region defining unit 117.
  • Based on the rearrangement scatter symbols input from the rearrangement symbol memory 105 and the active regions input from the active region defining unit 117, the specific symbol position determination unit 115 determines if three to five scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row having an active region, as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, in a unit game. Then, when it is determined that three to five scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row having an active region, the specific symbol position determination unit 115 determines the positions of the scatter symbols of the same kind as the positions of WILD symbols 181. It also determines, as the positions of WILD symbols 181, the positions of the active regions in which the scatter symbols of the same kind are allowed to increase in two column directions from the positions thereof respectively, based on the active regions input from the active region defining unit 117.
  • The specific symbol position memory 116 stores therein the positions of WILD symbols 181 determined by the specific symbol position determination unit 115, and outputs the positions of the WILD symbols 181 to the display symbol memory 107 after a unit game is finished. In the display symbol memory 107, the scatter symbols 180 respectively placed in the positions of the WILD symbols 181 are replaced to WILD symbols 181 and stored. Then, the WILD symbols 181 stored in the display symbol memory 107 are used in image processing performed in the display control unit 114. Accordingly, the scatter symbols of the same kind displayed on the display 101 are replaced to WILD symbols 181, and the WILD symbols 181 are increased in all of the active regions located in a column direction from the WILD symbols 181 respectively. Then, all the resulting WILD symbols 181 are fixedly displayed. That is, the controller 100 executes: the fourth process of, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row having an active region as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols 181; and the fifth process of increasing the specific symbols 181 in all of the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols 181 respectively, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols.
  • The game execution unit 110 executes a unit game of rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the WILD symbols 181 are fixedly displayed on the display 101. The combination payout determination unit 111 determines a payout according to the number of the WILD symbols 181 fixedly displayed and the number of scatter symbols 180 (including a WILD symbol 181) rearranged. The payout giving unit 113 gives the payout determined by the combination payout determination unit 111. That is, the controller 100 executes: the sixth process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the specific symbols 181 are fixed; and the seventh process of giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged.
  • Each of the blocks of the controller 100 may be realized in the form of hardware or in the form of software if necessary.
  • [Operation of Controller 100]
  • The following describes an operation of the controller 100 having the above-described structure. First, active regions (regions of paylines L1, L2, and L3), corresponding to a bet operation received by the input device 102, are defined in the arrangement areas 151 to 155 by the active region defining unit 117, and the active regions are displayed on the display 101 by the display control unit 114. Thus, the controller 100 executes the first process of defining active regions (regions of paylines L1, L2, and L3) corresponding to a bet operation received by the input device 102 in the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, of the display 101.
  • Next, rearrangement scatter symbols are determined by the rearrangement symbol determination unit 106. The rearrangement scatter symbols determined are stored in the rearrangement symbol memory 105. Then, the rearrangement scatter symbols stored in the rearrangement symbol memory 105 are stored in the display symbol memory 107 and the specific symbol position determination unit 115. Then, the rearrangement scatter symbols stored in the display symbol memory 107 are prepared to be displayed by the display control unit 114 on the display 101. When the game execution unit 110 executes a unit game, scatter symbols 180 are rearranged by having the display 101 display thereon the rearrangement scatter symbols stored in the display symbol memory 107. Thus, the controller 100 executes the second process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 in the arrangement areas 151 to 155.
  • Then, the combination payout determination unit 111 and the payout giving unit 113 give a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged. Thus, the controller 100 executes the third process of giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged.
  • On the other hand, the rearrangement scatter symbols stored in the specific symbol position determination unit 115 are used for determining the position of WILD symbols 181, with the active regions input from the active region defining unit 117. Specifically, when three to five scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row having an active region, the positions of the scatter symbols of the same kind are defined as the positions of WILD symbols 181. Also, based on the active regions input from the active region defining unit 117, there are determined, as positions of WILD symbols 181, the positions of the active regions in which the scatter symbols of the same kind are allowed to increase in two column directions from the positions thereof. Meanwhile, when three to five scatter symbols of the same kind are not rearranged in a row direction in any row having an active region, the positions of WILD symbols 181 are not determined. Also, in the case where only the regions of payline L1 are defined as active regions by the active region defining unit 117, the positions of WILD symbols 181 increased are not determined, even if three to five scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged on the payline L1.
  • The positions of WILD symbols 181 determined by the specific symbol position determination unit 115 are stored in the specific symbol position memory 116, and are output to the display symbol memory 107 after a unit game is finished. In the display symbol memory 107, the scatter symbols 180 placed in the respective positions of WILD symbols 181 are replaced to WILD symbols 181 and stored. Then, the WILD symbols 181 stored in the display symbol memory 107 are used in image processing performed in the display control unit 114. Accordingly, the scatter symbols of the same kind displayed on the display 101 are replaced to WILD symbols 181, and the WILD symbols 181 are increased in all of the active regions located in a column direction from the WILD symbols 181 respectively. Then, all the resulting WILD symbols 181 are fixedly displayed. Thus, the controller 100 executes: the fourth process of, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row having an active region as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols 181; and the fifth process of increasing the specific symbols 181 in all of the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols 181 respectively, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols.
  • After that, a unit game is executed by the game execution unit 110, in which not-fixed scatter symbols 180 are rearranged while the WILD symbols 181 are fixedly displayed on the display 101. Then, the combination payout determination unit 111 and the payout giving unit 113 give a payout according to the number of the WILD symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 (including a WILD symbol 181) rearranged. Thus, the controller 100 executes: the sixth process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the specific symbols 181 are fixed; and the seventh process of giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged.
  • As clearly seen from the above operations, as well as shown in FIG. 24, the slot machine 1 realizes a playing method including: defining active regions (regions of paylines L1, L2, and L3) corresponding to a bet operation received by the input device 102 in a matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, of the display 101; rearranging scatter symbols 180 in the arrangement areas 151 to 155; giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged; when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row having an active region as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols 181; increasing the specific symbols 181 in all of the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols 181 respectively, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols; rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the specific symbols 181 are fixed; and giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged.
  • According to the above-described playing method, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row having an active region, the scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to specific symbols (WILD symbols) 181. The specific symbols 181 are increased in all of the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols 181 respectively, and then fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed are rearranged. Then, a payout is given according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged. Thus, the specific symbols 181 which are increased in the active regions and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and make it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • [Display State]
  • Specifically described hereinafter is an exemplary display state of the display 101 in the slot machine 1 and in the operation process of the playing method thereof. The following description deals with a case where scatter symbols are arranged on the display 101 of a video reel-type, as shown in FIG. 26.
  • The display 101 has arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 in which scatter symbols 180 are arranged. In the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, symbol columns having more than one scatter symbol 180 is scroll-displayed, respectively. Each of the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 is divided into an upper row 151 a, a middle row 151 b, and a lower row 151 c. Scatter symbols 180 are stopped (arranged) in the rows 151 a, 151 b, and 151 c of the respective arrangement areas. For example, in FIG. 26, “GOLD BAR” is stopped in the upper row 151 a of the arrangement area 151, “HERO” is stopped in the middle row 151 b of the arrangement area 151, and “JET” is stopped in the lower row 151 c of the arrangement area 151. Thus, the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 display a symbol matrix of five columns and three rows. Note that the symbol matrix is not limited to a matrix of five columns and three rows.
  • This embodiment deals with a case where a process of paying out a coin or the like is performed when a predetermined number (e.g., four) or more scatter symbols of a same kind are displayed in the symbol matrix. However, it is possible to employ such a configuration that, for example, a payline L is provided so as to cross the middle row 151 b of the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, and when scatter symbols stopped on the payline L correspond to a predetermined combination, a coin is paid out.
  • As shown in FIG. 26, when a predetermined number (three to five) scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction on any of three paylines L1, L2, and L3, a bonus game is triggered. As a result, these scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to WILD symbols 181. In FIG. 26, three scatter symbols 180 of the same kind (“HERO”) are rearranged on the payline L1, which is the middle row 151 b, of the arrangement areas 151, 152, and 153, so that these scatter symbols 180 are replaced to WILD symbols 181.
  • In the case of FIG. 26, where the regions of three paylines L1, L2, and L3 are defined as active regions and three scatter symbols 180 of the same kind (“HERO”) are rearranged on the payline L1, WILD symbols 181 are increased in the payline L2, which is the upper row 151 a, of the arrangement areas 151, 152, and 153, and in the payline L3, which is the lower row 151 c, of the arrangement areas 151, 152, and 153, and then fixed, as shown in FIG. 27. In the bonus game, scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed are rearranged while the WILD symbols 181 are fixed. Then, a payout is given according to the number of WILD symbols 181 fixed and the number of each kind of scatter symbols 180 (including a WILD symbol 181) rearranged. In the bonus game, the regions of three paylines L1, L2, and L3 are defined as active regions.
  • In the case shown in FIG. 27, a payout which may be given in a bonus game is: a payout corresponding to nine WILD symbols 181; a payout corresponding to ten or more WILD symbols 181, or a payout corresponding to nine WILD symbols 181 and one or more scatter symbols 180 (other than a WILD symbol) of a same kind, for example.
  • As shown in FIG. 28, when the regions of one payline L1 are defined as active regions and three scatter symbols 180 of a same kind (“HERO”) are rearranged on the payline L1, WILD symbols 181 are not increased since an active region (active regions of another payline) is not defined in the upper row 151 a or the lower row 151 c of the arrangement areas 151, 152, and 154.
  • In the case shown in FIG. 28, a payout which may be given in a bonus game is: a payout corresponding to four or more WILD symbols 181; or a payout corresponding to three WILD symbols 181 and one or more scatter symbols 180 (other than a WILD symbol) of a same kind, for example.
  • [Scatter Symbols]
  • As shown in FIG. 29, scatter symbols 180 displayed in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 of the display 101 constitute symbol columns, each symbol column having twenty-two scatter symbols. Each symbol of each symbol column has a code number, any one of numbers from 0 to 21. Each symbol column is constituted of a combination of scatter symbols of “HERO”, “JET”, “VILLA”, “GOLD BAR”, “CAR”, “STOCK CERTIFICATE”, “RIVAL”, “DIAMOND”, and “WILD”.
  • Successive three scatter symbols of each symbol column are displayed (arranged) respectively in the upper row 151 a, the middle row 151 b, and the lower row 151 c of each of the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, thereby constituting a symbol matrix of five columns and three rows. When a later-mentioned bet button and a spin button are sequentially pressed in this order to start a game, scatter symbols constituting a symbol matrix start to scroll. After the symbols are scrolled for a predetermined period of time, the scrolling of symbols stops (symbols are rearranged).
  • When a predetermined number or more scatter symbols of a same kind are displayed in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, a player gets an advantage. To get an advantage means that coins are paid out according to scatter symbols displayed, the value of coins to be paid out is added to a credit value, a bonus game is started, or the like.
  • Specifically, when four or more scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, twenty coins (game media) are paid out for one bet. When a predetermined number (three to five) of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row having an active region, a bonus game is triggered. This causes a transition of gaming state from a basic game to a bonus game.
  • Here, a bonus game is a gaming state which provides a larger advantage than a basic game. In this embodiment, the bonus game is a free game. The free game is a game which allows a player to play a unit game a predetermined number of times (in this embodiment, five times) without betting a coin. Note that another bonus game may be employed in combination, provided that the other bonus game is advantageous to a player, i.e., the other bonus game is more advantageous than a basic game. For example, that other bonus game which may be employed is a game providing: a state where a larger amount of game media can be obtained than in a basic game; a state where game media can be obtained more likely than in a basic game; or a state where a smaller amount of game media are consumed than in a basic game.
  • [Mechanical Structure of the Slot Machine 1]
  • Next, the following describes a specific example of mechanical and electrical structures of the slot machine 1 thus structured.
  • As shown in FIG. 30, the slot machine 1 is an upright slot machine and has a cabinet 3 for housing electrical or mechanical components for executing a predetermined game mode. As a display unit 4 for displaying game information in response to a player's game operation, there may be provided an upper variable display unit 4A, a middle variable display unit 4B, and a lower variable display unit 4C. The display units 4A to 4C are attached to the front face of the cabinet 3 having a longer length in the vertical direction.
  • The upper variable display unit 4A has a transparent upper liquid crystal panel 5A fixed to a front door of the cabinet 3. The upper liquid crystal panel 5A displays thereon an image showing, for example, an effect image, an introduction of a game, or rules of the game.
  • The middle variable display unit 4B is a display panel for rotating symbols, which is to be constantly viewed by a player. The middle variable display unit 4B has a transparent center liquid crystal panel 5B fixed to the front door of the cabinet 3. On the center liquid crystal panel 5B, five arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 are displayed. Further, on the center liquid crystal panel 5B, an effect of moving images is performed at a time of winning or the like. Further, in an upper portion of the center liquid crystal panel 5B, a payout number indicator 8 and a credit number indicator 9 are displayed.
  • The lower variable display unit 4C has a lower liquid crystal panel 5C which displays the number of points stored in a card or the number of points of a game. Such a number is displayed on the lower liquid crystal panel 5C based on a result displayed on the middle variable display unit 4B. When a winning combination is achieved in the middle variable display unit 4B, the number of points of the game displayed on the lower liquid crystal panel 5C is increased according to the type of the winning achieved. On the left of the lower liquid crystal panel 5C, a ticket printer 14 is provided. On the right of the lower liquid crystal panel 5C, a card reader 15 is provided. Note that winning means an occasion where four or more scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged, awarding various payouts according to the result.
  • Below the lower variable display unit 4C is disposed an operation table 10 which protrudes forward from the front face of the cabinet 3. On the operation table 10, there are arranged operation buttons 11 (e.g., a spin button 73, change button 74, cash-out button 75, 1-bet button 76, maximum bet button 77, or the like) serving as a control panel which enables a player to perform a game-related operation. In addition, the operation table 10 is provided with a coin insertion slot 12 and a bill insertion slot 13.
  • Below the operation table 10, a waist-high panel 17 is disposed. The waist-high panel 17 is a plastic panel having a game-related image printed thereon. This waist-high panel 17 is fixed to a lower front door 18 and illuminated by a cold cathode tube. Further, below the waist-high panel 17 is disposed a coin receiving tray 19 for storing a coin paid out based on a game result.
  • Further, lamps 30 are disposed on the cabinet 3 of the slot machine 1 so as to surround game areas including the upper variable display unit 4A, the middle variable display unit 4B, the lower variable display unit 4C, and the operation table 10. The lamps 30 include side lamps 22, speaker lamps 24, under lamps 25, and top lamps 26. The side lamps 22 are provided on inclined parts 21 provided at the front right and front left of the cabinet 3, each of which parts protruding in a bow shape so as to extend over the upper variable display unit 4A, the middle variable display unit 4B and the lower variable display unit 4C. The speaker lamps 24 are provided on arc-shaped speakers 23 which protrudes sideways at the right and a left ends of the cabinet 3 adjacent to the operation table 10. The speaker lamps 24 are arranged along edges of the speakers 23. The under lamps 25 are provided on the lower front door 18 and arranged along a lower edge of the waist-high panel 17. The top lamps 26 are provided above the upper variable display unit 4A. The top lamps include power lamps 26 a disposed at both sides respectively and band-type lamps 26 b arranged in a horizontal direction between the power lamps.
  • [Electrical Structure of the Slot Machine 1]
  • Inside the cabinet 3 is provided a control unit including the controller 100 of FIG. 25. As shown in FIG. 31, the control unit includes components such as a motherboard 40, a main body PCB (Printed Circuit Board) 60, a gaming board 50, a sub CPU 61, a door PCB 80, various switches, and a sensor.
  • The gaming board 50 is provided with a CPU (Central Processing Unit) 51, a ROM 55 and a boot ROM 52, a card slot 53S for a memory card 53, and an IC socket 54S for a GAL (Generic Array Logic) 54, which are connected to one another through an internal bus.
  • The memory card 53 stores therein a game program and a game system program. The game program contains a program to determine symbols to be stopped (hereinafter “stop symbol determination program”). The stop symbol determination program is a program for determining a symbol matrix of five columns and three rows. This stop symbol determination program contains sets of symbol weighting data respectively correspond to several kinds of payout rates (e.g., 80%, 84%, and 88%). Each set of symbol weighting data indicates, for each of the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, a relation between a code number of each symbol and at least one random number values. The random number value is a value within a predetermined range of 0 to 256 for example.
  • A payout rate is set based on payout rate setting data output from the GAL 54. Rearrangement symbols are determined based on a set of symbol weighting data corresponding to the payout rate set.
  • The memory card 53 stores therein various types of data for use in the game program and game system program. Specifically, the memory card 53 stores, in the form of table, data indicating relations between scatter symbols 180 displayed in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 of FIG. 26 and a range of random number values. This data is transferred to a RAM 43 of the motherboard 40, at a time of execution of the game program.
  • The card slot 53S is structured so that the memory card 53 is inserted/removed thereto/therefrom. This card slot 53S is connected to the motherboard 40 via an IDE bus. Thus, the type and content of a game run by the slot machine 1 can be modified by removing the memory card 53 from the card slot 53S, writing a different game program and game system program into the memory card 53, and inserting the memory card 53 back to the card slot 53S.
  • The game program includes a program related to the progress of a game and/or a program for causing a transition to a bonus game. Also, the game program includes image data and audio data output during a game.
  • The GAL 54 has input ports and output ports. Upon the input of data to an input port, the GAL 54 outputs data corresponding to the input data from an output port. This data output from the output port is the before-mentioned payout rate setting data.
  • The IC socket 54S is structured so that the GAL 54 is attached/detached thereto/therefrom. The IC socket 54S is connected to the motherboard 40 via a PCI bus. Thus, the payout rate setting data to be output from the GAL 54 can be modified by detaching GAL 54 from the IC socket 54S, overwriting a program stored in the GAL 45, and attaching the GAL45 back to the IC socket 54S.
  • The CPU 51, the ROM 55, and the boot ROM 52, which are connected to one another via the internal bus, are connected to the motherboard 40 via the PCI bus. The PCI bus communicates a signal between the motherboard 40 and the gaming board 50, and supplies power from the motherboard 40 to the gaming board 50. The ROM 55 stores therein country identification information and an authentication program. The boot ROM 52 stores therein a preliminary authentication program, a program (boot code) for enabling the CPU 51 to run the preliminary authentication program, or the like.
  • The authentication program is a program (falsification check program) for authenticating the game program and the game system program. The authentication program is a program for confirming and verifying that the game program and the game system program are not falsified. In other words, the authentication program is described in accordance with a procedure for authenticating the game program and the game system program. The preliminary authentication program is a program for authenticating the authentication program. The preliminary authentication program is described in accordance with a procedure for verifying that the authentication program to be authenticated is not falsified. In short, the preliminary authentication program authenticates the authentication program.
  • The motherboard 40 is provided with a main CPU 41 (controller), a ROM (Read Only Memory) 42, the RAM (Random Access Memory) 43, and a communications interface 44.
  • The main CPU 41 serves as a controller that controls the overall slot machine 1. Specifically, the main CPU 41 performs the controls of: outputting a command signal, upon pressing the spin button 73 after a bet of credit, to the sub CPU 61 so as to scroll-display scatter symbols on the center liquid crystal panel 5B; determining symbols to be stopped after the scroll-display of symbols; and stopping the determined symbols in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155.
  • That is, the main CPU 41 functions as an arrangement controller to execute an arrangement control by which, among various kinds of scatter symbols, symbols to be arranged in a symbol matrix are selected and determined, and then scrolling of the symbols is stopped so that the determined symbol matrix appears. With this function, scatter symbols displayed while being scrolled on the center liquid crystal panel 5B are rearranged in a new symbol matrix.
  • The main CPU 41 also functions as a controller 100 which executes: the first process of defining active regions (regions of paylines L1, L2, and L3) corresponding to a bet operation received by the input device 102 (operation buttons 11) in the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155, constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, of the display 101 (center liquid crystal panel 5B); the second process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 in the arrangement areas 151 to 155; the third process of giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged; the fourth process of, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row having an active region as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols (WILD symbols) 181; the fifth process of increasing the specific symbols 181 in all of the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols 181 respectively, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols; the sixth process of rearranging scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed while the specific symbols 181 are fixed; and the seventh process of giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 (including a WILD symbol 181) rearranged.
  • The ROM 42 stores a program such as BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) run by the main CPU 41, and data that is permanently used. When the BIOS is run by the main CPU 41, each of peripheral devices is initialized and the game program and the game system program stored in the memory card 53 are read out through the gaming board 50.
  • The RAM 43 stores data or program used for the main CPU 41 to perform a process. For example, in the RAM 43 are formed: the symbol memory 108, the display symbol memory 107, the rearrangement symbol memory 105, and the specific symbol position memory 116, which are shown in FIG. 25, in the forms of data areas, respectively. In the data area of the symbol memory 108, scatter symbols 180 are stored in the form of a data table of FIG. 29. In the data area of the rearrangement symbol memory 105, rearrangement symbols are stored. In the data area of the specific symbol position memory 116, positions of WILD symbols 181 are stored. In the data area of the display symbol memory 107, a symbol matrix including WILD symbols 181 fixed are stored.
  • The communications interface 44 communicates via a communication line with a host computer or the like provided in a game arcade. The motherboard 40 is connected to the main body PCB (Printed Circuit Board) 60 and the door PCB 80 through USBs (Universal Serial Buses). Further, the motherboard 40 is connected to a power unit 45. The power unit 45 supplies power to the motherboard 40 to boot the main CPU 41 thereof. Meanwhile, the power unit 45 supplies power to the gaming board 50 through the PCI bus to boot the CPU 51.
  • The main body PCB 60 and the door PCB 80 are connected to: a device or apparatus which generates an input signal to be input to the main CPU 41; and a device or apparatus controlled by a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The main CPU 41 runs the game program and the game system program stored in the RAM 43 based on the input signal input to the main CPU 41, to carry out an arithmetic process, thereby storing a result thereof in the RAM 43 or transmitting a control signal to each device or apparatus to control them.
  • The main body PCB 60 is connected to the lamps 30 (to be more specific, the side lamps 22, the speaker lamps 24, the under lamps 25, and the top lamps 26), the sub CPU 61, a hopper 66, a coin detecting unit 67, a graphic board 68, the speakers 23, a bill validator 62, the ticket printer 14, the card reader 15, and a key switch 38S.
  • The lamps 30 are turned on/off based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The sub CPU 61 controls an operation of scrolling symbols in the arrangement areas 151 to 155, and is connected to a later-mentioned VDP (Video Display Processor). The VDP reads out image data of symbols stored in an image data ROM (not shown), and then generates an image of scrolling symbols to be displayed in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 to output the image to the center liquid crystal panel 5B.
  • The hopper 66 is provided in the cabinet 3, and pays out a predetermined number of coins from a coin payout opening to the coin receiving tray 19 based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The coin detecting unit 67 is provided inside the coin payout opening, and outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 when detecting that a predetermined number of coins are paid out from the coin payout opening.
  • The graphic board 68 controls image displaying of the upper liquid crystal panel 5A, the center liquid crystal panel 5B, and the lower liquid crystal panel 5C, based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The graphic board 68 is provided with a VDP which generates image data based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41, a video RAM which temporarily stores image data generated by the VDP, and the like.
  • The bill validator 62 reads an image on a bill inserted to the bill insertion slot 13 and accepts a genuine bill into the cabinet 3. When accepting a genuine bill, the bill validator 62 outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 corresponding to the amount of the bill. The main CPU 41 stores in the RAM 43 the number of credits corresponding to the amount of the bill transmitted by the input signal.
  • Based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41, the ticket printer 14 prints a bar code on a ticket, and then outputs the ticket with a bar code. Data such as the number of credits stored in the RAM 43, time and date, identification number of a slot machine 1, or the like is encoded to the bar code.
  • The card reader 15 reads data from a smart card to transmit them to the main CPU 41, or write data to a smart card based on a control signal from the main CPU 41. The key switch 38S is mounted on a keypad (not shown), and outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 in response to an operation of the keypad by a player.
  • The door PCB 80 is connected to a control panel 70, a reverter 71S, a coin counter 71C, and a cold cathode tube 81. The control panel 70 is provided with: a spin switch 73S corresponding to the spin button 73, a change switch 74S corresponding to the change button 74, a cash-out switch 75S corresponding to the cash-out button 75, a 1-bet switch 76S corresponding to the 1-bet button 76, and a maximum bet switch 77S corresponding to the maximum-bet button 77. The switches 73S to 77S output input signals to the main CPU 41 upon operations of the corresponding buttons 73 to 77 by a player, respectively.
  • The coin counter 71C is provided inside the coin insertion slot 12, and validates whether a coin inserted by a player into the coin insertion slot 12 is genuine. Anything other than a genuine coin is discharged to the coin receiving tray 19. The coin counter 71C outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 when detecting a genuine coin.
  • The reverter 71S is operated based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The reverter 71S distributes a coin that is recognized as genuine by the coin counter 71C to a cash box (not shown) or the hopper 66 mounted in the slot machine 1. In other words, when the hopper 66 is filled with coins, the reverter 71S distributes a genuine coin to the cash box. On the other hand, when the hopper 66 is not filled with coins, a genuine coin is distributed to the hopper 66. The cold cathode tube 81 functions as a backlight mounted to the rear sides of the upper liquid crystal panel 5A and the center liquid crystal panel 5B. The cold cathode tube 81 is turned on based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41.
  • [Process Operation of the Slot Machine 1]
  • Next, the process operation of the slot machine 1 will be described.
  • [Boot Process]
  • First, the main CPU 41 of the slot machine 1 executes a boot process routine shown in FIG. 32. This boot process routine is performed by the motherboard 40 and the gaming board 50. The memory card 53 is assumed to be inserted into the card slot 53S of the gaming board 50, and the GAL 54 is assumed to be attached to the IC socket 54S.
  • First, turning on a power switch of (powering on) the power unit 45 boots the motherboard 40 and the gaming board 50. Booting the motherboard 40 and the gaming board 50 starts separate processes in parallel. That is, in the gaming board 50, the CPU 51 reads out the preliminary authentication program stored in the boot ROM 52, and according to the preliminary authentication program read out, the CPU 51 performs the preliminary authentication to confirm and verify that the authentication program is not falsified, before reading that program in the motherboard 40 (S101).
  • On the other hand, in the motherboard 40, the main CPU runs the BIOS stored in the ROM 42, to load into the RAM compressed data built in the BIOS (S1). Then, the main CPU runs a procedure of the BIOS according to the data loaded into the RAM 43 so as to diagnose and initialize various peripheral devices (S2).
  • The main CPU 41, which is connected to the ROM 55 of the gaming board 50 via the PCI bus, reads out the authentication program stored in the ROM 55, and stores it in the RAM 43 (S3). During this step, the main CPU 41 derives a checksum through ADDSUM method (a standard check function) which is adopted in a standard BIOS, and stores the authentication program in the RAM 43 while confirming if the operation of storing is carried out without an error.
  • Next, the main CPU 41 checks what is connected via the IDE bus. Then, the main CPU 41 accesses via the IDE bus to the memory card 53 inserted into the card slot 53S to read out the game program and the game system program from the memory card 53. In this case, the main CPU 41 reads out four bytes of data constituting the game program and the game system program at one time. Subsequently, according to the authentication program stored in the RAM 43, the main CPU 41 performs an authentication to confirm and verify that the game program and game system program read out are not falsified (S4). When this authentication process is properly finished, the main CPU 41 writes and store in the RAM 43 the game program and game system program which were the subjects of the authentication (authenticated) (S5).
  • Then, the main CPU 41 accesses, via the PCI bus, the GAL 54 attached to the IC socket 54S, and reads out the payout rate setting data from the GAL 54, which data is written to and stored in the RAM 43 (S6). Next, the main CPU 41 reads out, via the PCI bus, the country identification information stored in the ROM 55 of the gaming board 50. The country identification information read out is stored in the RAM 43 (S7).
  • Then, the main CPU 41 determines if the writing to the RAM 43 is normally performed (S8). When it is determined that the writing to the RAM 43 is normally performed (S8, YES), the sensor is checked (S9). Then, it is determined if the sensor is normal (S10). When it is determined that the sensor is normal (S10, YES), the operation of a drive mechanism is checked (S11). Then, it is determined if the operation of the drive mechanism is normal (S12). When it is determined that the operation of the drive mechanism is normal (S12, YES), the operation of illuminations (the lamps 30 or the like) is checked (S13). Then, it is determined if the operation of illuminations is normal (S14). When it is determined that the operation of the illuminations is normal (S14, YES), a boot signal is output (S15), the game program and game system program are read out from the RAM 43 (S16), a game execution process is executed (S17), and this routine ends.
  • In the cases where: it is determined that the writing to the RAM 43 is not normally performed in the step S8 (S8, NO); it is determined that the sensor is not normal in the step S10 (S10, NO); it is determined that the operation of the drive mechanism is not normal in the step S12 (S12, NO); and it is determined that the operation of the illuminations is not normal in the step S14 (S14, NO); an abnormal signal is output (S18) and an abnormal status is notified (S19) to end this routine.
  • [Game Execution Process]
  • After the boot process routine shown in FIG. 32, the main CPU 41 of the slot machine 1 executes a game execution process routine shown in FIG. 33. In the game execution process routine, first, the main CPU 41 determines if a coin is bet (A1). In this process, determined is if an input signal is received in response to pressing of the 1-bet button 76 or the maximum bet button 77. When it is determined that a coin is not bet (A1, NO), the step A1 is executed again to enter a standby mode until a coin is bet.
  • On the other hand, when it is determined that a coin is bet (A1, YES), the number of credits corresponding to the number of coins bet is subtracted from the number of credits stored in the RAM 43 (A2). When the number of coins bet is larger than the number of credits stored in the RAM 43, the process of subtracting the number of credits is not performed, and the step A1 is executed again.
  • Then, it is determined if the spin button 73 is pressed (set to ON) (A3). When it is determined that the spin button 73 is not pressed (not set to ON) (A3, NO), the process returns to the step A1. When the spin button 73 is not pressed (not set to ON) (for example, when an instruction to finish the game is input while the spin button 73 is not pressed (not set to ON)), the result of subtraction in the step A2 is canceled.
  • On the other hand, when it is determined that the spin button 73 is pressed (set to ON) (A3, YES), one or more active regions are defined (A4). Specifically, when the 1-bet button is pressed to bet a coin, the regions of payline L1 are defined as active regions. Meanwhile, when a maximum-bet button 77 is pressed to bet coins, the regions of paylines L1, L2, and L3 are defined as active regions. Then a symbol determination process is performed (A5). That is, a stop symbol determination program stored in the RAM 43 is executed to determine a symbol matrix.
  • Next, scatter symbols 180 in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 are scroll-displayed (A6). After scatter symbols 180 are scrolled, symbols of the symbol matrix determined in the step A4 are stopped (rearranged) in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155.
  • Then, it is determined if a combination is achieved, i.e., if four or more scatter symbols 180 of a same kind are rearranged (A7). When it is determined that a combination is not achieved (A7, NO), this routine ends. On the other hand, when it is determined that a combination is achieved (A7, YES), a payout process is executed (A8). That is, the number of coins to be paid out is calculated according to the number of scatter symbols of a same kind. When a coin to be paid out is reserved, a predetermined number of credits are added to the number of credits stored in the RAM 43. On the other hand, when a coin is paid out, a control signal is transmitted to the hopper 66 to pay out a predetermined number of coins to the coin receiving tray 19.
  • Then, it is determined if a bonus game trigger is achieved (A9). When it is determined that a bonus game trigger is not achieved, (A9, NO), this routine ends. On the other hand, when it is determined that a bonus game trigger is achieved (A9, YES), a bonus game process is executed (A10). The bonus game process will be described later. Then, this routine ends.
  • [Bonus Game Process]
  • When it is determined that a bonus game trigger is achieved in the step A9 of FIG. 33, the main CPU 41 of the slot machine 1 executes the bonus game process routine shown in FIG. 34. In the bonus game process routine, first, the main CPU 41 sets a bonus game-number T to “five” (B1). Then, scatter symbols 180 of a same kind are replaced to WILD symbols 181 (B2). After that, the WILD symbols 181 are increased in all of the active regions located in a column direction from the WILD symbols 181 respectively (B3). Then, all the resulting WILD symbols 181 are fixed (B4).
  • Then, it is determined if the spin button 73 is pressed (set to ON) (B5). When it is determined that the spin button 73 is not pressed (not set to ON) (B5, NO), the process returns to the step B5. On the other hand, when it is determined that the spin button 73 is pressed (set to ON) (B5, YES), a symbol determination process is performed (B6). That is, a stop symbol determination program stored in the RAM 43 is executed to determine a symbol matrix.
  • Then, not-fixed scatter symbols 180 are scroll-displayed in the regions, where the WILD symbols 181 fixed are not placed, of the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 (B7). After scatter symbols 180 are scrolled, symbols of the symbol matrix determined in the step B6 are stopped (rearranged) in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155. Meanwhile, in the regions where the WILD symbols 181 are fixedly displayed, the WILD symbols 181 remain displayed.
  • Then, it is determined if a combination is achieved, i.e., if four or more scatter symbols 180 of a same kind are rearranged (B8). When it is determined that a combination is achieved (B8, YES), a payout process is executed (B9). That is, the number of coins to be paid out is calculated according to the number of scatter symbols of the same kind. When a coin to be paid out is reserved, a predetermined number of credits are added to the number of credits stored in the RAM 43. On the other hand, when a coin is paid out, a control signal is transmitted to the hopper 66 to pay out a predetermined number of coins to the coin receiving tray 19.
  • When it is determined that a combination is not achieved in the step B8 (B8, NO), or after the step B9, the bonus game-number T is decremented by “one” (B10), and it is determined if the bonus game-number T is “zero” (B11). When it is determined that the bonus game-number is not “zero” (B11, NO), the process returns to the step B5. On the other hand, when it is determined that the bonus game-number T is “zero” (B11, YES), this routine ends.
  • As described above, when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row having an active region, the scatter symbols of the same kind are replaced to specific symbols (WILD symbol) 181. The specific symbols 181 are increased in all of the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols 181 respectively and then fixed. In this situation, scatter symbols 180 which are not fixed are rearranged. Then, a payout is given according to the number of the specific symbols 181 fixed and the number of scatter symbols 180 rearranged. Thus, the specific symbols 181 which are increased in the active regions and fixed provide a high possibility of awarding a payout, and make it quite obvious that an amount of payout which may be given is high. Therefore, a player easily understands that this is more advantageous for the player in payout.
  • In the detailed description provided above, characteristic parts have mainly been described in order that the present invention can be understood more easily. However, the present invention is not limited to the embodiment shown in the detailed description provided above, and may be applied to other embodiments. The scope of application of the present invention should be construed as broadly as possible. Terms and phraseologies adopted in the present specification are for correctly illustrating the present invention, not for limiting. It would be easy for those skilled in the art to derive, from the spirit of the invention described in the present specification, other structures, systems, methods and the like which are included in the spirit of the invention. Accordingly, it should be considered that claims cover equivalent structures, too, without departing from the technical idea of the present invention. An object of the abstract is to enable an intellectual property office, general public institutions, persons belonging to the art but not familiar with patent, legal terms, or technical terms to quickly understand technical contents and essences of the present invention through a simple research. Therefore, the abstract is not intended to limit the scope of the invention that should be evaluated by the claims. In addition, it is desirable to sufficiently refer to already-disclosed documents and the like, in order to fully understand the objects and effects of the present invention.
  • The detailed description provided above includes a processing which is executed on a computer or a computer network. The descriptions and expressions provided above are given for the purpose of allowing those skilled in the art to understand the invention most effectively. In the specification, respective steps used to induce one result, or blocks having a predetermined processing function should be understood as a processing having no self-contradiction. In addition, in each step or block, an electrical or magnetic signal is transmitted/received, recorded, and the like. In a processing in each step or block, such a signal is embodied in the form of a bit, a value, a symbol, a character, a term, a number, and the like. However, it should be noted that they have been used simply because they are convenient for explanations. A processing in each step or block has sometimes been described using an expression which is common to a human behavior. However, in principle, the processing described in the specification is executed by various devices. In addition, other structures necessary for each step or block are apparent from the above description.

Claims (17)

1. A slot machine comprising:
a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged; and
a controller which is programmed to operate in the following steps of:
(a1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;
(a2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged;
(a3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, increasing each of the scatter symbols of the same kind in a column direction and fixing all the resulting scatter symbols of the same kind;
(a4) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the scatter symbols of the same kind are fixed; and
(a5) giving a payout according to the number of the scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
2. A slot machine comprising:
a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged; and
a controller which is programmed to operate in the following steps of:
(b1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;
(b2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged;
(b3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols;
(b4) increasing each of the specific symbols in a column direction and fixing all the resulting specific symbols;
(b5) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and
(b6) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
3. A slot machine comprising:
a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged; and
a controller which is programmed to operate in the following steps of:
(c1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;
(c2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged;
(c3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols;
(c4) increasing each of the specific symbols by a predetermined number in each of two column directions and fixing all the resulting specific symbols;
(c5) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and
(c6) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
4. A slot machine comprising:
a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged; and
a controller which is programmed to operate in the following steps of:
(d1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;
(d2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged;
(d3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols;
(d4) increasing each of the specific symbols in a column direction and fixing all the resulting specific symbols;
(d5) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and
(d6) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of specific symbols rearranged.
5. A slot machine comprising:
a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged; and
a controller which is programmed to operate in the following steps of:
(e1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;
(e2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged;
(e3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols;
(e4) increasing each of the specific symbols by a predetermined number in each of two column directions and fixing all the resulting specific symbols;
(e5) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and
(e6) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of specific symbols rearranged.
6. A playing method of a slot machine wherein scatter symbols are arranged in a matrix of arrangement areas of a display, the arrangement areas being constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns,
the playing method of the slot machine comprising the steps of:
(f1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;
(f2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged;
(f3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, increasing each of the scatter symbols of the same kind in a column direction and fixing all the resulting scatter symbols of the same kind;
(f4) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the scatter symbols of the same kind are fixed; and
(f5) giving a payout according to the number of the scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
7. A slot machine comprising:
a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, which arranges scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; and
a controller which is programmed to operate in the following steps of:
(a1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;
(a2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged;
(a3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, randomly determining whether to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind;
(a4) when it is determined to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind, increasing each of the scatter symbols of the same kind in a column direction and fixing all the resulting scatter symbols of the same kind;
(a5) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the scatter symbols of the same kind are fixed; and
(a6) giving a payout according to the number of the scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
8. A slot machine comprising:
a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, which arranges scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; and
a controller which is programmed to operate in the following steps of:
(b1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;
(b2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged;
(b3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols;
(b4) randomly determining whether to increase the specific symbols;
(b5) when it is determined to increase the specific symbols, increasing each of the specific symbols in a column direction and fixing all the resulting specific symbols;
(b6) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and
(b7) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
9. A slot machine comprising:
a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, which arranges scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; and
a controller which is programmed to operate in the following steps of:
(c1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;
(c2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged;
(c3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, randomly determining whether to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind;
(c4) when it is determined to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind, randomly determining an increase-number of each of the scatter symbols of the same kind to be increased;
(c5) increasing each of the scatter symbol of the same kind in a column direction by the determined increase-number and fixing all the resulting scatter symbols of the same kind;
(c6) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the scatter symbols of the same kind are fixed; and
(c7) giving a payout according to the number of the scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
10. A slot machine comprising:
a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, which arranges scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; and
a controller which is programmed to operate in the following steps of:
(d1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;
(d2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged;
(d3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols;
(d4) randomly determining whether to increase the specific symbols;
(d5) when it is determined to increase the specific symbols, randomly determining an increase-number of each of the specific symbols to be increased;
(d6) increasing each of the specific symbols in a column direction by the determined increase-number, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols;
(d7) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and
(d8) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
11. A playing method of a slot machine wherein scatter symbols are arranged in a matrix of arrangement areas of a display, the arrangement areas being constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns,
the playing method of the slot machine comprising the steps of:
(e1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;
(e2) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged;
(e3) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in any row in a row direction as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, randomly determining whether to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind;
(e4) when it is determined to increase the scatter symbols of the same kind, increasing each of the scatter symbols of the same kind in a column direction and fixing all the resulting scatter symbols of the same kind;
(e5) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the scatter symbols of the same kind are fixed; and
(e6) giving a payout according to the number of the scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
12. A slot machine comprising:
a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged;
an input device which receives plural types of bet operations from outside; and
a controller which is programmed to operate in the following steps of:
(a1) defining, in the arrangement areas, one or more active regions corresponding to a bet operation received by the input device;
(a2) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;
(a3) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged;
(a4) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, increasing the scatter symbols of the same kind in the active regions located in a column direction from the scatter symbols of the same kind respectively, and fixing all the resulting scatter symbols of the same kind;
(a5) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the scatter symbols of the same kind are fixed; and
(a6) giving a payout according to the number of the scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
13. A slot machine comprising:
a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged;
an input device which receives plural types of bet operations from outside; and
a controller which is programmed to operate in the following steps of:
(b1) defining, in the arrangement areas, one or more active regions corresponding to a bet operation received by the input device;
(b2) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;
(b3) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged;
(b4) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols;
(b5) increasing the specific symbols in the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols respectively, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols;
(b6) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and
(b7) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
14. A slot machine comprising:
a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged;
an input device which receives plural types of bet operations from outside; and
a controller which is programmed to operate in the following steps of:
(c1) defining, in the arrangement areas, one or more active regions corresponding to a bet operation received by the input device;
(c2) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;
(c3) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged;
(c4) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row having an active region as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols;
(c5) increasing the specific symbols in the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols respectively, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols;
(c6) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and
(c7) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
15. A slot machine comprising:
a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged;
an input device which receives plural types of bet operations from outside; and
a controller which is programmed to operate in the following steps of:
(d1) defining, in the arrangement areas, one or more active regions corresponding to a bet operation received by the input device;
(d2) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;
(d3) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged;
(d4) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols;
(d5) increasing the specific symbols in all of the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols respectively, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols;
(d6) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and
(d7) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
16. A slot machine comprising:
a display having a matrix of arrangement areas constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns, in which arrangement areas scatter symbols are arranged;
an input device which receives plural types of bet operations from outside; and
a controller which is programmed to operate in the following steps of:
(e1) defining, in the arrangement areas, one or more active regions corresponding to a bet operation received by the input device;
(e2) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;
(e3) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged;
(e4) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row having an active region as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, replacing the scatter symbols of the same kind to specific symbols;
(e5) increasing the specific symbols in all of the active regions located in a column direction from the specific symbols respectively, and fixing all the resulting specific symbols;
(e6) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the specific symbols are fixed; and
(e7) giving a payout according to the number of the specific symbols fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
17. A playing method of a slot machine wherein scatter symbols are arranged in a matrix of arrangement areas of a display, the arrangement areas being constituted of one or more rows and one or more columns,
the playing method of the slot machine comprising the steps of:
(f1) defining, in the arrangement areas, one or more active regions corresponding to a bet operation received by an input device;
(f2) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;
(f3) giving a payout according to the number of scatter symbols rearranged;
(f4) when a predetermined number of scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in a row direction in any row as a result of a rearrangement of scatter symbols, increasing the scatter symbols of the same kind in the active regions located in a column direction from the scatter symbols of the same kind respectively, and fixing all the resulting scatter symbols of the same kind;
(f5) rearranging scatter symbols which are not fixed while the scatter symbols of the same kind are fixed; and
(f6) giving a payout according to the number of the scatter symbols of the same kind fixed and the number of scatter symbols rearranged.
US12/394,685 2008-03-07 2009-02-27 Slot Machine Which Provides Player with Easy Understanding of Getting Advantage in Payout and Playing Method Thereof Abandoned US20090227351A1 (en)

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US20090325678A1 (en) * 2008-06-25 2009-12-31 Wms Gaming Inc. Wagering system with expanding wild feature dictated by direction indicator
US20110111823A1 (en) * 2009-11-06 2011-05-12 Spielo Manufacturing Ulc Gaming Machine with Special Symbols that Change Other Symbols
US20110136562A1 (en) * 2009-12-03 2011-06-09 Spielo Manufacturing Ulc Gaming Machine with Matrix of Reels and Special Symbol Features
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WO2013110620A1 (en) * 2012-01-23 2013-08-01 Novomatic Ag Gaming machine including moving wild symbols
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